Google may be hit with second antitrust suit as soon as next month

Google may be hit with second antitrust suit as soon as next month

Less than a month after being sued by the Department of Justice over maintaining “unlawful monopolies” in its search and advertising businesses, Google is staring down the barrel of a second antitrust lawsuit.

A bipartisan group of US states is gearing up to file suit against the search giant as soon as next month, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The coalition of states — comprised of Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah — is conducting a broad inquiry into Google’s practices.

The group has said it plans to combine its case with the federal government’s and is expected to file its lawsuit in mid-December.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The DOJ in October accused Google of breaking the law in its effort to remain the “gateway to the internet,” employing questionable tactics including signing a massive contract worth billions of dollars with Apple to make it the default search engine on the iPhone, as well as ensuring that its search engine is pre-loaded onto smartphones using Alphabet’s Android operating system — which runs the majority of phones around the world.

Google has broadly denied wrongdoing in response to the government’s lawsuit and other probes, responding with a snark-laden blog post in which chief legal officer Kent Walker denied claims that the company is forcing consumer to use its search engine — saying that even an idiot can figure out how to switch browsers.

The government’s lawsuit promises to be the biggest antitrust case in a generation, comparable to the lawsuit against Microsoft Corp filed in 1998 and the 1974 case against AT&T which led to the breakup of the Bell System.

The Microsoft lawsuit was credited with clearing the way for the explosive growth of the internet since the antitrust scrutiny prevented the company from attempting to thwart competitors.

Shares of Google were up slightly Tuesday morning, trading at $1,731.08.

With Post wires.