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US states likely to file new antitrust lawsuit against Google: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo the Google logo is seen on the Google campus in Mountain View, California, on February 20, 2015. (AFP photo)

A group of US states is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the tech company misused its power when ranking its own offerings in search results, according to Politico.

The coalition claims that the internet giant changed the designs of its search engine to the disadvantage of competitors that offer specialized search results.

Amazon, TripAdvisor, Yelp and other internet companies active in recommending products or services have also said Google favors its own offerings in general search results.

A complaint led by attorneys general from Colorado and Nebraska could be filed as soon as Thursday, Politico reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

The new suit is different from the one that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed against Google in October, the report added.

That lawsuit accused the company of maintaining an "illegal monopoly" in online search and advertising.

Meanwhile, a Google spokeswoman referred Reuters to the comments from Kent Walker, the company's senior vice president for legal affairs, when the DOJ lawsuit was lodged.

"People use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to, or because they can't find alternatives," Walker had said.

The DOJ was joined by 11 other states when the lawsuit was filed with California joining the suit last week.

The case could take years to play out and the government might face challenges proving monopoly allegations against the tech firm, which has some of the most widely used services in the world.

Legal experts also argue it will not be easy to prove Google's conduct was illegal under the longstanding "consumer welfare" standard in monopoly cases as its services are largely free.

The DOJ argues that Google has used deals with device makers to ensure its apps and services are prominently displayed.


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