After more than a year of investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday formally filed an antitrust lawsuit against American tech giant Google.
It says the company is “unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States."
"Google is the gateway to the Internet and a search advertising behemoth. Google achieved some success in its early years, and no one begrudges that. But as the antitrust complaint filed today explains, it has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition."
According to the Justice Department, the company used billions of dollars collected from advertisements,. in order to pay for mobile-phone manufacturers, carriers and browser to maintain Google as their preset default search engine.
It added that such actions gave little opportunity for other companies to make inroads into the market.
Google currently controls search distribution channels for roughly 80-percent of search queries in the U.S.
The Justice Department says this results in less choice and innovation for consumers, and uncompetitive prices for advertisers.
Google's chief legal officer Kent Walker claims the lawsuit is deeply flawed, saying "people use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to or because they can't find alternatives."
Experts say a loss for Google could mean new openings for rival companies, while a victory could deal a huge blow to Washington's overall scrutiny of big tech companies.
Watchers say the case could take years to resolve.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.