Washington, DC – Earlier today a bipartisan coalition of 38 states filed an antitrust enforcement action against Google for its anticompetitive practices related to the design of its search engine.
“It is great to see a bipartisan coalition of states stand up to Google for abusing its search monopoly,” said Justin Brookman, director of technology policy for Consumer Reports, and a former FTC official. “For far too long, Google has used its power to harm competition and undermine the digital rights of consumers. It is clear that without intervention, these markets will not become competitive. We hope this lawsuit and others are the start of a much needed and long overdue step up in antitrust enforcement in digital markets.”
Sumit Sharma, senior researcher for tech competition said, “We welcome this scrutiny of Google’s search engine and its related digital advertising technology. The potentially anticompetitive agreements among dominant online platforms — Google, Apple, and Facebook — and interoperability restrictions imposed by these platforms entrench these firms’ considerable market power. Google is a dominating presence at all critical points in the pipeline that connects advertisers to online publishers and platforms. This dominance means consumers suffer a variety of harms. These harms include the undermining of a competitive marketplace that leads to a lack of new innovative services, higher prices for products and services that use online advertising, and less control over how people’s data is used.
Sharma added, “Google is an essential distribution channel for many businesses. It is not, however, a neutral channel. Changes over the years to monetize Google’s search service give preferential and more prominent treatment to its own products and paid placements, at the expense of other alternatives that might be better choices for consumers.”
This is the third major antitrust enforcement action filed against Google this year.
Consumer Reports recently released a nationally representative survey that found clear majorities of consumers are aware of this growing platform power, are concerned about it, and support increased government action to address these concerns. Findings from this CR survey were cited in the recent House Antitrust Subcommittee report on the power and practices of Google and other tech giants.
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