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Google and Competition: Concerns Beyond the DOJ’s Lawsuit

CRS In Focus – Google and Competition: Concerns Beyond the DOJ’s Lawsuit, December 2, 2020: “On October 20, 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and 11 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Google LLC under Section 2 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. §2). The lawsuit alleges that Google unlawfully maintains “monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices.” CRS Legal Sidebar LSB10544, The Google Antitrust Lawsuit: Initial Observations, by Jay B. Sykes provides an in-depth discussion of the DOJ lawsuit. The DOJ lawsuit suggests structural relief—potentially involving divestitures of specific operations—as part of the potential remedy for Google’s alleged anticompetitive conduct. Because the lawsuit focuses on Google’s conduct in search services and search advertising, any structural remedies would likely focus on these services. For example, if the court finds that Google violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act, it could order the separation of Google’s search services and search advertising from its other products or only from specific products, such as the company’s mobile operating system Android and its browser Chrome.Overthe last two years, some Members of Congress have raised broader concerns about Google’s conduct in markets other than search services in congressional hearings and in a report issued by the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets. This In Focus explores some of these additional competition concerns that may not be addressed by the DOJ lawsuit..”

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