A federal judge is allowing parts of a multistate Google antitrust lawsuit to move forward and while Google may view some aspects of the decision as a win, they will still face other claims brought forward by the Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general.
The decision paves the way for the legal battle against the tech giant’s alleged monopolistic practices.
“Google abused its dominance to inflate its own profits at the expense of American businesses and in violation of antitrust laws,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. “We are actively preparing for trial and are ready to establish how Google’s pattern of illegal conduct harms consumers and competition.”
Connecticut is one of 38 states that joined the lawsuit.
Last week, D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta granted, in part, Google’s motion for summary judgment in the cases, alleging that the tech giant illegally maintained a monopoly by cutting off rivals from search distribution channels.
While the judge allowed the shared argument from the enforcers to proceed, he dismissed the states’ claim that Google unfairly hurt search rivals.
The judge’s decision permits the states to continue pursuing claims that Google manipulated its search ad product to the detriment of advertisers, preventing them from integrating both its own tools and those of competitors in the purchase of general search ads. However, the states will be barred from making allegations that Google’s design of its search results deliberately undermined competition by suppressing the results of rival search engines.
Advertisers spend over $80 billion annually just to reach general search users (and billions more on other forms of digital advertising).
According to the decision, Google does not contest the markets defined in the lawsuit nor that “it possesses monopoly power in those markets.”
“What Google challenges is the accusation that its alleged conduct has harmed competition in the relevant markets,” the decision states.
The trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 12.