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Google slapped with antitrust lawsuit by DOJ

Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley breaks down the Department of Justice antitrust suit against Google, the agency’s first major case against Big Tech since Microsoft in 1998.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: We do have to get straight to our top story now, and that is that antitrust suit versus Google from the Department of Justice, just filed this morning. And it does emphasize what the government says is the search dominance that has been imposed by Google, choking off competition. Dan Howley is with us to give us the details on this lawsuit. So what are the details? What's in this suit, Dan?

DAN HOWLEY: Yes. So this is being filed by the DOJ in conjunction with 11 state attorneys general. They are going after Google for antitrust violations that they allege happened in its search business and its search advertising business. And I'll give you kind of an example of what they're looking at here. In the complaint, they say that Google maintains its illegal monopolies by entering into and tying other arrangements that force pre-installation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices, and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference.

They also say that Google enters into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default and de facto exclusive general search engine on Apple's popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools. And then they say that Google generally uses its monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization.

So basically what they're saying is, that Google has these various agreements in place. It uses its own capabilities as a search giant to then get into agreements and then kind of use this cycle to perpetuate that monopoly going forward. We don't know exactly how long this case will take, but chances are, it will be several years.

We saw Microsoft obviously in the late '90s and early 2000s with their lawsuit, and it was damaging to Microsoft in the long term, because it kept that company from being able to enter into the mobile phone wars. And as a result, Google really rose to prominence alongside Apple with Google's Android operating system and Apple with its iPhone. So it's something that could really impact Google going forward.

On Google's side of things, they said that they're going to fight this case and that they find it flawed. And they also, by the way, as you can imagine, have a Brinks truck worth of money just sitting there that they can use to fight this. Probably several Brinks trunks, actually, to fight this case. So there's going to be a lot of back and forth here.

This isn't the last suit that we may see though. The state attorneys general who haven't signed on, including New York, have said that they also may file a suit of their own in the coming weeks. And if they do, they would then join up with the DOJ. So this isn't the last portion of this that we've heard of yet.