Googleplex Headquarters in 2016

ATLANTA - Georgia and 10 other states joined the Justice Department Tuesday in filing a lawsuit aimed at preventing Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices.

The suit accuses the tech giant of entering into a series of exclusionary agreements to lock up the primary avenues through which users access internet search engines.

“On behalf of Georgians, our office joined this lawsuit to address Google’s potential anticompetitive conduct in order to maintain a fair and free market for consumers, advertisers and all companies now reliant on the internet economy,” state Attorney General Chris Carr said.

The suit alleges that Google’s anticompetitive practices have had harmful effects on competition and consumers by preventing any meaningful search competitor from gaining vital distribution. Restricting competition has reduced the quality of internet searches, offering less choice and innovation, the plaintiffs claim.

The suit also complains that restricting competition allows Google to charge advertisers higher rates than it could in a competitive market.

In response, Google called the lawsuit “deeply flawed” but made no other statement.

There’s a history of legal challenges to Big Tech. In 2001, the Justice Department working with a coalition of states filed suit against Microsoft and won a decision declaring federal antitrust laws forbid anticompetitive agreements by high-tech monopolies. The suit against Google claims it is using similar agreements to maintain and extend its dominance.

Congress also has been involved in efforts to rein in Google and other huge tech companies. Tech CEOs representing Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook were called a U.S. House committee during the summer.

Earlier this month, the House antitrust subcommittee released a lengthy report following a yearlong investigation concluding there is substantial evidence the tech giants’ market power has reduced consumer choice by hampering competition.

States participating in the lawsuit against Google besides Georgia include Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas.

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