(Dec 8): Big Tech platforms Meta Platforms Inc, formerly known as Facebook, and Google have been hit with a series of antitrust lawsuits by the U.S. federal government and states on charges they are operating monopolies and abusing their power.
Below is the status of the cases, as well as government probes of Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a new complaint against Facebook in mid-August 2021, adding more detail on the accusation the social media company crushed or bought rivals and once again asking a judge to force the social media giant to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. The agency did so at the invitation of Judge James Boasberg, who had said that its previous effort fell short. Facebook has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed with prejudice.
Boasberg, however, threw out a related state lawsuit, saying the attorneys general had waited too long.
Four lawsuits against Google:
The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc's Google in October 2000, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals. A trial date was set for Sept. 12, 2023.
The government is preparing to file a second lawsuit focused on the company's digital advertising business.
A lawsuit by 38 U.S. states and territories accuses Google of abusing its market power to try to make its search engine as dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in cellphones. This was consolidated with the federal lawsuit for purposes of discovery.
Texas, backed by other states, filed a separate lawsuit against Google in December 2020, accusing it of breaking antitrust law in how it runs its online advertising business.
Dozens of state attorneys general sued Google on July 7, alleging it bought off competitors and used restrictive contracts to unlawfully maintain a monopoly for its app store on Android phones.
Justice Department investigates Apple:
This probe, revealed in June 2019, appears to focus on Apple Inc's app store. Some app developers have accused Apple of introducing new products very similar to existing apps created by other developers and sold in the Apple Store, and then trying to banish the older apps from the store because they compete with Apple's new product. Apple says it seeks to have only the highest-quality apps in the app store.
Federal Trade Commission on Amazon:
In its investigation, the FTC is likely looking at the inherent conflict of interest of Amazon competing with small sellers on its marketplace platform, including allegations that it used information from sellers on its platform to decide what products it would introduce.