A massive bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general have launched another antitrust lawsuit against Big Tech, this time targeting the search engine giant Google, as reported by USA Today.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, with 36 states signed on. Among the participating states are New York, California, Virginia, and Washington D.C. In the suit, the attorneys general claim that Google is utilizing “anti-competitive barriers and mandates to protect its monopoly power,” primarily through its app store which services its Android brand of smart phones.
In response, Google spokesperson Wilson White claimed that “we don’t impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do,” calling it “strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James (D-N.Y.) countered White’s argument on Twitter by pointing out that Google has been “raising prices for consumers and squeezing millions of small businesses that are trying to compete.” She added that the attorneys general “won’t allow companies to illegally quash competition so they can make billions,” and thus are “seeking to end Google’s monopoly power and fight for millions of consumers and small business owners in New York and beyond.”
This lawsuit follows shortly after the failure of a prior antitrust lawsuit that sought to take on Big Tech. Last week, an Obama-appointed federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by over 40 state attorneys general against the social media giant Facebook, which had pointed to monopolistic actions on Facebook’s part such as the acquisitions of the photo-sharing website Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp.
Judge James Boasberg, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claimed that the attorneys general had filed their lawsuit too late after the acquisitions – which took place in 2012 and 2014, respectively – to have any relevant standing. On the same day, Boasberg also dismissed a similar antitrust suit against Facebook filed by the Federal Trade Commission, with the justification that the FTC had failed to sufficiently prove that Facebook was a monopoly.