Antitrust lawsuit against Google is just the beginning

The US government’s antitrust lawsuit against Google is coming to an end. But several other major federal lawsuits are underway, aimed at reducing the hold of tech giants on the market.


Posted at 1:37 a.m.

Updated at 9:00 a.m.

Cecilia Kang and David McCabe

The New York Times

Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched investigations into monopolistic behavior against Meta, Amazon, Apple and Google. Federal lawsuits followed against the four companies – two against Google – in an effort to limit their power and increase competition.

The companies have denied the allegations and are defending themselves.

Closing arguments ended yesterday in the first antitrust trial against Google, which targets its business practices related to its search engine. The judge’s decision, expected within a few months, should set a precedent for other trials.

Here is a summary of the fight Uncle Sam v. Tech giants.

Amazon

In September, the FTC and 17 states sued Amazon, accusing it of using its powerful platform to push aside rival suppliers and favor its own products and services. According to the FTC, these monopolistic practices harm consumers and in some cases result in “artificially high prices”, because Amazon prohibited suppliers from offering products offered on Amazon on other sites at lower prices.

A federal judge in Washington set the start of the trial for October 2026.

Amazon asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying it often offers low prices to consumers and does not harm suppliers on its site. The lawsuit demonstrates a “fundamental misunderstanding of retail,” Amazon argues.

type="image/webp"> type="image/jpeg">>>

PHOTO KENNY HOLSTON, THE NEW YORK TIMES ARCHIVES

FTC Chair Lina Khan

FTC Chair Lina Khan, who is committed to breaking the monopolies of tech giants, is the author of a famous antitrust law article published in 2017 in the Yale Law Journalwhere she explained how to bring Amazon back to order.

According to Amazon, the lawsuit is “misguided.” If the FTC were successful, the company adds, “it would force Amazon to engage in practices that would actually harm consumers and the many businesses” using its platform.

Apple

In March, the Justice Department sued Apple, accusing it of using a monopoly in the cellphone market to block and stifle competition and inflate prices. The department joined 15 states and the District of Columbia in the lawsuit following a two-year investigation.

In this complaint, filed in a federal court in New Jersey, the department claims that Apple has prevented companies from offering applications that compete with its own (cloud streaming, messaging, digital wallet, etc.).

Apple has announced plans to file a motion to dismiss and denies that its business decisions violate antitrust laws. She maintains that her practices make the iPhone more efficient.

“This lawsuit threatens our identity and the principles that distinguish Apple products in hypercompetitive markets,” responded a spokesperson. “We believe this lawsuit is factually and legally flawed, and we will vigorously defend ourselves.” »

Google

In addition to the Google Search lawsuit, the Justice Department sued Google in January over online advertising. The trial is scheduled to begin in September in federal court in Virginia.

The department and eight states accuse Google of acquiring rivals through anticompetitive mergers and forcing media and advertisers to use its advertising technology.

Last month, Google asked the judge to rule the case out of court, arguing that the ad technology market is competitive and the lawsuit would hurt innovation as well as thousands of small businesses that advertise online.

If the judge rules in favor of the federal prosecutor in the Google Search lawsuit, the judge will have to suggest changes to Google’s practices in order to remedy anything found illegal.

Meta

The FTC sued Meta in December 2020, accusing it of creating a social media monopoly by purchasing Instagram and WhatsApp. According to the FTC, this concentration of platforms has deprived consumers of options.

This antitrust lawsuit has had more twists and turns than other trials against the tech giants. It was filed in federal court in Washington before the company renamed itself Meta, instead of Facebook. In 2021, Judge James Boasberg dismissed the complaint, finding that the FTC did not properly define the market it accused Meta of monopolizing. He did, however, allow the agency to rephrase the suit. The FTC filed its amended version last year.

The FTC and 40 states accuse the company of having purchased Instagram and WhatsApp more than a decade ago to illegally crush competition and nip in the bud any possibility that one of the two rival platforms would dislodge it from its dominant position. Regulatory authorities are calling for the transactions to be reversed.

Meta denies acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp to kill competition and claims to have invested heavily in developing innovations for these apps.

This article was published in the New York Times.

Read this article in its original version (in English; subscription required)

-

-

PREV Gildan | Board members resign and CEO leaves office
NEXT Project Rambo, a limited edition all-terrain monster!