Consumer News

AG Derek Schmidt: Google’s illegal search monopoly harms consumers, stifles competition

Release Date: Dec 17, 2020

TOPEKA – (December 17, 2020) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today joined a bipartisan coalition in filing a lawsuit against Google LLC in federal court, arguing that the internet search giant maintains an illegal monopoly that harms consumers by limiting competition that could lead to greater choice, innovation and better privacy protections.

Schmidt and 37 other attorneys general filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging violations of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The states allege that Google illegally maintains its monopoly over general search engines and related advertising markets through a series of anticompetitive exclusionary contracts and conduct. The attorneys general also say Google has exploited its market position to amass and leverage data to the detriment of consumers.

“With limited or no competition in the marketplace, Google’s illegal monopoly gives it power to impose its terms on consumers, advertisers and competitors,” Schmidt said. “This complaint seeks to restore balance which will be a great benefit to consumers and other technology innovators.”

Schmidt said the states’ complaint was consistent with the October 28 lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which alleged that Google improperly maintains its monopoly power in general search and search advertising through the use of exclusionary agreements. The federal government’s lawsuit was also filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A motion to consolidate the cases has been filed.

The attorneys general ask the court to halt Google’s illegal conduct and restore a competitive marketplace. The states also seek to unwind any advantages that Google gained as a result of its anticompetitive conduct, including divestiture of assets as appropriate. The court is also asked to provide any additional relief it determines appropriate, as well as reasonable fees and costs to the states.

Schmidt announced in September 2019 that his office was part of a bipartisan coalition of state and territory attorneys general that was investigating Google’s business practices.

A copy of states’ federal complaint can be found at https://bit.ly/3gTPK9G.

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