FRANKFORT, Ky. (October 20, 2020) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron today joined the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a multi-state coalition of attorneys general in filing a civil antitrust complaint against Google, LLC (Google) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit stems from Google’s anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.
“Antitrust laws promote healthy business competition, which in turn, ensure consumers can choose from a variety of quality services and products,” said Attorney General Cameron. “We filed the complaint against Google, alongside the Department of Justice and other state attorneys general, to protect Kentucky consumers and businesses from anticompetitive practices and ensure that competition is restored in the marketplace.”
This complaint, similar to the case brought in 1998 by the DOJ and a coalition of attorneys general against Microsoft, alleges that Google entered a series of exclusive agreements to eliminate competition by requiring its search engine to serve as the default or exclusive search function on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide. The complaint also contends that Google, which accounts for almost 90 percent of all search queries in the United States, unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:
- Engaging in exclusive agreements that forbid pre-installation of any competing search service.
- Making binding agreements that force pre-installation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and denying consumers the ability to delete these applications, regardless of their preferences.
- Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default, and de facto exclusive, search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools.
- Using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points.
These and other suspected anticompetitive practices by Google harm free market competition by preventing any meaningful search competitor from gaining vital distribution and scale, making it nearly impossible for innovative new companies to compete with Google’s search products.
By allegedly engaging in this conduct, Google has suppressed advertising competition, enabling the global company to inflate advertising costs and reduce the quality of services to advertisers without losing profit due to the lack of competition.
The DOJ and the attorneys general also allege that the tech giant’s business practices have harmed consumers by decreasing search engine options, impeding innovation that could benefit consumers, and reducing the quality of search functions as it relates to privacy, data protection, and use of consumer data.
Attorney General Cameron joined the DOJ and attorneys general from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas in filing the lawsuit.
To read a copy of the complaint, click here.