Google to ask judge to toss U.S. antitrust lawsuit over search dominance

By - Reuters

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google will likely argue Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department's allegations that it broke antitrust law to build and maintain its dominance of search are flawed and that its lawsuit should be thrown out, according to court filings.

The government, which filed its lawsuit in the waning days of the Trump administration, will likely defend its complaint, which said that Alphabet's Google acts illegally in paying billions of dollars each year to smartphone makers like Apple, LG, Motorola and Samsung, carriers like Verizon and browsers like Mozilla to be the default search for their customers.

Google has argued in court filings that the payments are legal revenue-sharing deals and not illegal efforts to exclude rivals.

The case is being heard by Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case is slated for trial in September.

Google's motion is the Internet company's latest attempt to get out of several costly and time-consuming lawsuits from state and federal governments aimed at reining in its market power.

The Justice Department sued Google in 2020, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech since it sued Microsoft Corp for anti-competitive practices in 1998. A settlement left the company intact although the decision to rein in Microsoft left room for Google, which was founded in 1998, and others to thrive.

Since this lawsuit was filed, Google has been hit with other antitrust complaints. The Justice Department filed a second lawsuit in January accusing the company of abusing its dominance of the digital advertising business.

A group of states led by Texas also sued on ad tech in 2020 while states led by Utah filed a lawsuit in 2021 saying the company broke antitrust law in handling its play store.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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