Google hit with another antitrust lawsuit by states

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general filed another antitrust lawsuit against Google on Thursday focused on its online search market power, adding to the growing legal battles facing the tech giant.

The lawsuit — filed by 35 states and Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico — alleges Google illegally maintains monopoly power over search engines and search advertising markets through a series of anticompetitive contracts and conduct.

“Our economy is more concentrated than ever, and consumers are squeezed when they are deprived of choices in valued products and services,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) said in a statement. “Google’s anticompetitive actions have protected its general search monopolies and excluded rivals, depriving consumers of the benefits of competitive choices, forestalling innovation, and undermining new entry or expansion.”

Weiser was joined by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D), Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson (R) and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery (R) at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

The states are asking the court to unwind any advantages Google gained as a result of anticompetitive behavior, including calling for the divestiture of assets as appropriate.

Google defended its search engine in a lengthy statement Thursday, arguing that being forced to revert changes would harm the quality of results and ultimately small businesses.

“We know that scrutiny of big companies is important and we’re prepared to answer questions and work through the issues,” Adam Cohen, director of economic policy at Google, wrote in a blog post. “But this lawsuit seeks to redesign Search in ways that would deprive Americans of helpful information and hurt businesses’ ability to connect directly with customers.”