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S.C. joins civil antitrust lawsuit against Google

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South Carolina is one of 11 states joining the U.S. Justice Department in a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google alleging anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson filed the suit today in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia.

“Google’s monopoly is hurting consumers in South Carolina and across the country and we think the company’s actions violate federal laws,” Wilson said in a news release. “This affects every device that has access to the internet, from computers to cell phones.”

Other participating states are Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana and Texas.

“Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people. … This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”

The complaint (.pdf) alleges that Google has entered into a “series of exclusionary agreements to lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines, and thus the internet, by requiring that Google be set as the default or exclusive search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide." Those agreements include forcing preinstallation of undeletable Google search applications on mobile devices and forbidding preinstallation of any competing search service, according to the Justice Department.  

“These and other anticompetitive practices harm competition and consumers, reducing the ability of innovative new companies to develop, compete, and discipline Google’s behavior,” the Justice Department said. 

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