California is seeking to join the Justice Department (DOJ) in its antitrust lawsuit against Google. This is according to a court filing the state submitted on Friday.
The move makes California the first Democratic enforcer to seek to join the DOJ and 11 Republican attorneys general in the lawsuit. California did not join the initial group of 50 states and territories that launched an investigation into the search giant last year. However, Politico later reported it had been pursuing its own probe.
With this, a Google spokesperson pointed CNBC back to the company’s previous response to the DOJ lawsuit. In it, Google called the complaint “deeply flawed.”
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who recently became President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, said in the filing that California would not seek any changes to the original complaint announced in October.
“By using exclusionary agreements to dominate the market, Google has stifled competition and rigged the advertising market,” Becerra said in a statement shared in a press release. “This lawsuit paves the way for search engine innovation with greater regard for privacy and data protection,” he then added.
Several other states have also said they are continuing to investigate Google. If they file their own complaints, they may also seek to join them with the existing lawsuit. This will potentially expand the allegations against the company.
The DOJ lawsuit claims Google has unlawfully maintained a monopoly in online general search. It had reportedly done so by depriving rivals of key distribution channels.
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