MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office announced Tuesday that Florida is joining forces with the U.S. Department of Justice and 10 other state attorneys general in filing a civil antitrust lawsuit against internet giant Google.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent Google from “unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.”

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Google is one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world. Regardless of its size, all companies have an obligation to compete fairly in the marketplace. Our investigation into Google revealed that the global tech behemoth allegedly used its size and scale to build a moat around its core markets—general search services and search advertising.

“We believe Google’s conduct violates state and federal antitrust laws and that a successful outcome in this case will bring many benefits to all Americans including Florida consumers, the overwhelming majority of whom use Google products every day.”

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The complaint says that Google has entered into a series of exclusionary agreements to lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines. The complaint also alleges that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:
• Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of any competing search service;
• Entering into tying and other arrangements that force preinstallation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference;
• Entering 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
• Generally using 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.

Antitrust laws protect forbid monopolists from engaging in anti-competitive practices.

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