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Google previews argument against U.S. federal antitrust lawsuit

Google parent Alphabet on Wednesday gave a preview of its argument against a U.S. government antitrust lawsuit against it in a redacted version of its motion to toss out the lawsuit.

January 12, 2023
By Diane Bartz
12 January 2023

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Google parent Alphabet
on Wednesday gave a preview of its argument against a
U.S. government antitrust lawsuit against it in a redacted
version of its motion to toss out the lawsuit.

The stakes are high for Google, which could be forced to
spin off assets if it loses.

In December, Google asked Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss both the
antitrust case that the Justice Department filed in 2020 along
with 11 states as well as a related complaint brought by 35
states led by Colorado. A redacted version of the motion against
the Justice Department was filed on Wednesday.

The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed by the Trump
administration, alleged that Google violated antitrust law when
it paid billions annually to Apple, LG Electronics Inc
and other smartphone makers to ensure that Google
search was the default.

In its filing, Google argued that Mehta should dismiss the
Justice Department case because the company’s agreements with
Apple and others do not bar them from promoting rival search
engines, like Microsoft’s Bing.

The company also argued that its search engine was popular
with browsers and consumers entirely because of its quality, and
that it was inappropriate for the government to require Google
to refrain from competing to be the default on smartphones.

“Requiring Google not to compete vigorously — or requiring
browser developers to alter their product designs and provide a
worse experience for their customers — would turn competition
law on its head,” the company said in the filing.

Google faces additional allegations of antitrust violations
from dozens of states. The lawsuit filed by Colorado and others,
which was also filed in 2020, also alleges that Google illegally
limits rivals’ ability to operate its Search Ads 360 tool, used
by advertisers to manage online marketing campaigns. It also
argues that Google broke antitrust law to hamper rivals, such as
travel-oriented websites.

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(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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