he Justice Department filed a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Google uses anticompetitive tactics to preserve a monopoly for its flagship search engine and related advertising business, illegally choking off potential competition.
The case, filed in a Washington, D.C., federal court, marks the most aggressive U.S. legal challenge to a company’s dominance in the tech sector in more than two decades, with the potential to shake up Silicon Valley and beyond. It thrusts Google, once a startup and now a vast conglomerate, into the type of public showdown the company has sought to avoid.
The Justice Department alleged that Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., GOOG 1.39% is maintaining its status as gatekeeper to the internet through an unlawful web of exclusionary and interlocking business agreements that shut out competitors. The government alleged that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisements on its platform to pay for mobile-phone manufacturers, carriers and browsers, like Apple Inc.’s Safari, to maintain Google as their preset, default search engine, creating a self-reinforcing cycle of dominance.