(FiveNation.com)- The Department of Justice has officially filed an antitrust lawsuit against tech giant Google, alleging that the company has engaged in various anticompetitive practices to maintain its monopoly. Specifically, Google maintains a virtual monopoly on online search and web browsing, giving the company increased power to skew public opinion or change what information people have access to.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday morning that the lawsuit had been filed, with 11 states joining the Justice Department in suing the company.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, is the defendant in the case and is accused of having broken the law to stop competitors encroaching on its business territory. It is the biggest antitrust case in a generation, with the last major lawsuit of this kind being filed in 1998 against Microsoft.
Reuters reported that Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to that Reuters report, Google is also accused of engaging in antitrust practices to maintain its monopoly in various online advertising spaces. It forms a huge part of the company’s revenue, which amounted to $162 billion in 2019.
Justice officials, according to the Wall Street Journal, said that the lawsuit will also focus on arrangements in Google’s search application, whereby the application cannot be deleted from phones that run the Android operating system. It will analyze whether it is legal for the company to pre-install software onto an operating system, thereby making it difficult for companies with different search apps to compete.
The government will reportedly allege that Google is illegally stopping competitors from preloading applications on phones under revenue-sharing agreements.
The suit is long-awaited by those familiar with the story. The Justice Department has been planning the case for some time, with an investigation into Google having started almost a year ago. Dozens of lawyers within the Justice Department have been working in two separate groups overseeing different potential areas of lawbreaking, relating to advertising and search.
As it stands, Google controls around 90% of all web search traffic globally, which has been aided by the fact that its search platform is pre-installed on phones running the Android operating system.