Google fires back at Justice Department after filing of long-awaited antitrust suit

"People use Google because they choose to," a spokesman for the search giant told Fox News.

Updated: October 20, 2020 - 1:23pm

The Justice Department antitrust lawsuit filed Tuesday against Google prompted a fierce reply from the Big Tech giant.

"Today's lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed," a Google spokesman told Fox News. "People use Google because they choose to — not because they're forced to or because they can't find alternatives."

There was bipartisan support for the DOJ move.

"Today's lawsuit is the most important antitrust case in a generation," said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

"Google and its fellow Big Tech monopolists exercise unprecedented power over the lives of ordinary Americans, controlling everything from the news we read to the security of our most personal information," Hawley said. "And Google in particular has gathered and maintained that power through illegal means."

House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said the lawsuit is "long overdue."

"The subcommittee's investigation uncovered extensive evidence showing that Google maintained and extended its monopoly to harm competition," Cicilline said in a statement. "It is critical that the Justice Department's lawsuit focuses on Google's monopolization of search and search advertising, while also targeting the anticompetitive business practices Google is using to leverage this monopoly into other areas, such as maps, browsers, video, and voice assistants."

In its suit, Justice lawyers allege that Google uses its dominance in the online search field to stunt competition. 

"For years, Google has entered into exclusionary agreements, including tying arrangements, and engaged in anticompetitive conduct to lock up distribution channels and block rivals," according to the suit. 

"American consumers are forced to accept Google's policies, privacy practices, and use of personal data; and new companies with innovative business models cannot emerge from Google's long shadow," the suit states. "For the sake of American consumers, advertisers, and all companies now reliant on the internet economy, the time has come to stop Google's anticompetitive conduct and restore competition." 

The Justice lawyers say they are taking such action to stop Google from "unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices, and to remedy the effects of this conduct."

"For a general search engine, by far the most effective means of distribution is to be the preset default general search engine for mobile and computer search access points," the lawsuit states. "Even where users can change the default, they rarely do. This leaves the preset default search engine with de facto exclusivity."