DOJ Reportedly Eyeing ‘Unprecedented’ Third Lawsuit Against Google

February 24th, 2023 12:07 PM

The Department of Justice is reportedly considering filing a third antitrust lawsuit against Google.

This time, the DOJ allegedly seeks to determine whether Google forces app developers to use its map services rather than the options of competitors. The department has reportedly been interviewing individuals who could be key witnesses in a future lawsuit. 

Politico reported on the possibility of a new filing:

The DOJ is examining whether Google illegally forces app developers to use its mapping and search products as a bundle, rather than choose competing options for different services. For example, Google has extensive data on the locations of businesses and other places, and prosecutors are examining how the company may prevent developers from using that data with a competing mapping service.

Politico called the potential third lawsuit “unprecedented.”

Google, of course, has denied any wrongdoing and claimed its primary goal is improving user experience.

“‘Developers choose to use Google Maps Platform out of many options because they recognize it provides helpful, high-quality information,’” Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels claimed. “‘They are also free to use other mapping services in addition to Google Maps Platform — and many do.’”

The DOJ is also reportedly concerned that Google is taking advantage of carmakers and companies that manufacture vehicle entertainment systems by forcing them to bundle Google Maps and the Google Play app store with other Google services.

Google denied this allegation as well.

“‘There is enormous competition in the connected car space, including an array of companies offering car infotainment systems,’” Schottenfels reportedly said, presumably referring to Apple CarPlay and/or Amazon Alexa. “‘Even if automakers choose Android Automotive OS, they aren’t required to use Google Automotive Services for their cars.’”

MRC Free Speech America reported last month that the DOJ filed a second lawsuit against the company, joining California, New York, Virginia, and other states in a complaint that accuses the company of manipulating search results and ads at the user’s expense. The claims are not unfounded.

A recent MRC Free Speech America’s study exposed Google’s manipulation of search results to benefit Democrats in hotly contested Senate races in the 2022 midterm elections.

In a study on pro-abortion bias, MRC Free Speech America analyzed search engine results for the word “pregnancy” in a “clean environment” using Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Researchers discovered Google’s first search result linked to America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, while results from Bing and DuckDuckGo were more neutral.

“Google has behaved so shamelessly and terribly that it has made enemies on both sides of the aisle,” Vice President of MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Dan Schneider said in a statement at the time. “It has only itself to blame.”

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