Justice Department charges Google with multiple violations of federal antitrust law

Justice Department charges Google with multiple violations of federal antitrust law

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google over allegations that its search and advertising empire violated federal antitrust laws, launching what is likely to be a lengthy, bruising legal war between Washington and Silicon Valley that could have vast implications for the entire tech industry.

The federal government’s landmark lawsuit caps off a roughly year-long investigation, which found Google wielded its digital dominance to the detriment of corporate rivals and consumers. The complaint contends that Google relied on a mix of special agreements and other problematic business practices to secure an insurmountable lead in online search, capturing the market for nearly 90 percent of all queries in the United States.

Google gained its “grip on distribution,” the Justice Department found, by paying billions of dollars to become the default search application in Web browsers, on smartphones and across a wide array of other devices and services, including those offered by some of its competitors, such as Apple. This vast, unparalleled reach allowed Google to enrich itself through lucrative ads, maintain its online foothold and render it impossible for other search engines to compete, the federal lawsuit alleges.