Google is going through a 3rd authorities antitrust lawsuit

Sundar Pichai, Google CEO

Anindito Mukherjee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google is now in less than two months before its third government antitrust lawsuit, this time against a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser led the group of 38 states and territories in the lawsuit alleging that Google illegally maintained a monopoly on general search and search advertising through anti-competitive behavior and contracts. The members of the executive committee that ran the states also included Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

Weiser said at a press conference on Thursday that the group would file a motion to consolidate the case with the recent Justice Department lawsuit against Google.

Similar to the Justice Department lawsuit filed with eleven Republican state-owned companies in October, the new complaint takes action against Google’s alleged monopoly on online searches. However, the new lawsuit focuses on various mechanisms that the AGs use to claim that Google illegally maintained its monopoly power.

The DOJ’s lawsuit asserts the exclusion agreements used by Google to prevent competitors from gaining access to key sales channels and to ensure continued monopoly on online searches.

In a press release announcing the lawsuit against the new states, Google’s actions are described as “a multi-faceted effort to maintain its monopoly”.

Weiser said at the press conference that the new suit goes beyond the DOJ by examining how Google has allegedly used foreclosure contracts to lock in new sales channels through which consumers access search engines like smart speakers.

A group of ten Republican corporations sued Google Wednesday for its advertising technology business and an allegedly illegal business with Facebook.

After filing Thursday, the Wall Street Journal owner News Corp, which has long criticized Google’s practices, said in a statement that the evidence alleged in the complaint was “stunned”.

“To be clear, the main accusation is that publishers across the country have been routinely ripped off, which is bad news for freedom of the press, journalism and an informed society,” wrote News Corp.

The new lawsuit against Google comes about a week after many of the same states sued Facebook in a coalition of 48 attorneys-general led by New York City-based Letitia James. The states and a separate Federal Trade Commission complaint alleged that Facebook illegally maintained monopoly power in personal social networking services by acquiring potential competitors before they became major threats.

In a statement following the DOJ’s first lawsuit against Google, several states said if they filed their own complaint they would try to consolidate it with the existing lawsuit.

This story evolves. Check for updates again.

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