Google hit with third antitrust lawsuit from 38 states and territories

It's the second antitrust action against the search giant this week.

Jeenah Moon / reuters

Google is facing yet another antitrust lawsuit. Attorneys general from 38 states and territories have filed antirust charges over Google’s search business. The action is the second antitrust lawsuit against the company this week, and the third such claim this year.

On Wednesday, Texas’ attorney general led a group of states in a lawsuit calling out Google’s advertising business. And The Justice Department sued Google in October, saying the company’s search and advertising business were unfair monopolies.

“Google’s anticompetitive actions have protected its general search monopolies and excluded rivals, depriving consumers of the benefits of competitive choices, forestalling innovation, and undermining new entry or expansion,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, who led the latest action, said in a statement.

Like the DoJ suit, Google’s search business is at the heart of the states’ action, though Weiser said the lawsuit goes further than the DoJ charges. For example, it cites the company’s investments in smart speakers, voice assistants and connected cars as anti-competitive behavior. “Devices, such as smart home speakers, smart television sets, and connected cars, each could support or enable rival general search engines,” the lawsuit states. “Google’s conduct in excluding the presence of rival voice assistants therefore limits an additional pathway through which more competition could come to its search-related monopolies, thus harming consumers, advertisers, and the competitive process.”

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update 12/17 2:30pm ET: In a blog post, Google said the lawsuit would hurt businesses that depend on Google for customers.

“This lawsuit demands changes to the design of Google Search, requiring us to prominently feature online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses,” the company wrote. “Redesigning Google Search this way would harm the quality of your search results. We look forward to making that case in court, while remaining focused on delivering a high-quality search experience for our users.”