WASHINGTON — Google parent Alphabet on Wednesday gave a preview of its argument against a U.S. government antitrust lawsuit against it in a redacted version of its motion to toss out the lawsuit.
The stakes are high for Google, which could be forced to spin off assets if it loses.
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In December, Google asked Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss both the antitrust case that the Justice Department filed in 2020 along with 11 states as well as a related complaint brought by 35 states led by Colorado. A redacted version of the motion against the Justice Department was filed on Wednesday.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed by the Trump administration, alleged that Google violated antitrust law when it paid billions annually to Apple, LG Electronics Inc and other smartphone makers to ensure that Google search was the default.
In its filing, Google argued that Mehta should dismiss the Justice Department case because the company’s agreements with Apple and others do not bar them from promoting rival search engines, like Microsoft’s Bing.
The company also argued that its search engine was popular with browsers and consumers entirely because of its quality, and that it was inappropriate for the government to require Google to refrain from competing to be the default on smartphones.
“Requiring Google not to compete vigorously — or requiring browser developers to alter their product designs and provide a worse experience for their customers — would turn competition law on its head,” the company said in the filing.
Google faces additional allegations of antitrust violations from dozens of states. The lawsuit filed by Colorado and others, which was also filed in 2020, also alleges that Google illegally limits rivals’ ability to operate its Search Ads 360 tool, used by advertisers to manage online marketing campaigns. It also argues that Google broke antitrust law to hamper rivals, such as travel-oriented websites.
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(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)