Factbox-Biden administration continues Trump antitrust focus on tech giants
(Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday, marking the third antitrust lawsuit filed against a tech giant since the Trump administration kicked off investigations of the platforms and the Biden administration pledged to press on with the probes.
Following are major U.S. government lawsuits and investigations regarding Big Tech.
The U.S. Justice Department sued Google on Tuesday, accusing the company of abusing its dominance of the digital advertising business and saying Google should be forced to sell its ad manager suite, in the government’s latest attempt to slice away a portion of Big Tech’s power.
The U.S. Justice Department had previously sued Google in October 2020, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in search. This case is scheduled to go to trial in September.
Dozens of U.S. states and territories filed a broader version of the Justice Department lawsuit in December 2020. The state complaint accuses Google of abusing its market power to try to make its search engine as dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in phones. The same judge is hearing both the federal and state lawsuits in D.C. federal court.
Also in 2020, Texas, backed by nine other states, filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the internet search company of breaking antitrust law in how it runs its online advertising business. The case was moved to New York, to be heard with other, similar cases.
The Justice Department is also probing Google to determine if bundling its Maps product with other Google software illegally stifles competition.
The Federal Trade Commission and a big group of states filed separate lawsuits to ask a court to force Meta Platforms to sell WhatsApp and Instagram, saying the social media company used a “buy or bury” strategy to snap up rivals and keep smaller competitors at bay. The judge threw out the state lawsuit on the grounds that they had waited too long to bring their case. The states have appealed while the FTC complaint goes forward.
The Justice Department has a probe into Apple underway, which was revealed in June 2019. It appears to focus on Apple’s app store. Some app developers have accused Apple of introducing new products very similar to existing apps created by other developers and sold in the Apple Store, and then trying to banish the older apps from the store because they compete with Apple’s new product. Apple says it seeks to have only the highest-quality products in the app store.
In its investigation of Amazon, the FTC is believed to be probing the inherent conflict of interest of Amazon competing with small sellers on its marketplace platform, including allegations that it used information from sellers on its platform to decide what products it would introduce.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)