Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, has settled on Thursday its second lawsuit for violation of antitrust law in less than 24 hours. To the complaint filed this Wednesday by a dozen States, with Texas at the head, for abuse of its market position in the management of advertising onlineThis is followed by this new legal action against technology by 38 states and territories of the country, accusing it of trying to extend its monopoly in search engines to smart speakers, televisions and cars. In October, the Department of Justice delivered the first legal blow to the Californian company, whose market value is estimated at a trillion dollars (about 815,000 million euros), considering that it has incurred in illegal monopolistic practices in Internet searches and advertising online. It is not the only one of the Big Five (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google) that is on the ropes, since the US Trade regulator and the attorneys general of 46 states and two territories (Columbia and Guam) They sued Facebook a week ago for monopoly.
The growing scrutiny of business-as-usual tech practices appears to have reached cruising speed, judging by the coincidence of the last two lawsuits. In the case of the latter, a new charge is added to the alleged violation of the antitrust law in search engines: the fact that, according to prosecutors, Alphabet has wanted to expand its market dominance to the very latest technologies, in spaces until now little explored like smart speakers; in fact, the legal action took shape from the complaints of the manufacturer of smart speakers Sonos, and other companies in the field, which argue that Google has acted unfairly to gain market share. The alleged attempt by Google to monopolize this new market would, for example, eliminate the competitiveness of the well-known technological assistant Amazon Alexa.
“Google is preventing its competitors in the voice assistant market from reaching consumers through cars connected [automóviles con sistema integrado de seguridad de internet], which represent a significant means of accessing the Internet in the future, “explained Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, when filing the complaint. The California-based company was down nearly one point in Thursday’s Wall Street session with two hours to go.
Just 24 hours earlier, the technology giant was facing another similar lawsuit, filed by a group of Republican attorneys general – there is almost unanimous agreement in the two major parties, although for different reasons, when it comes to curbing the all-embracing power of technology- , for violating the antitrust law in collaboration with Facebook to favor its commercial management of advertising online. The plaintiffs are asking Alphabet for compensation for the damages, as well as “structural relief” from the company, which in practice means divesting some of its assets. In the case filed against Facebook last week, he is invited to ditch the social network Instagram and the instant messaging service WhatsApp, two companies that, according to the indictment, he bought to eliminate competitors.
The two consecutive lawsuits against Google are the last, for the moment, in the growing offensive to limit the power of big technology, both in the US and in the European Union. Along with that of Facebook, they promise to be the biggest antitrust cases in a generation, following the one launched by the Department of Justice and 20 States against Microsoft in 1998, which is credited with paving the way for the Internet’s massive growth. Microsoft was accused of a monopoly in the sales of the operating system and the web browser of the old computers with Intel engines, and the dispute was settled with an agreement between the parties, criticized by some of the litigating States.
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