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Arizona joins lawsuit accusing Google of being an illegal monopoly

PHOENIX – Arizona’s Mark Brnovich is among 38 attorneys general who teamed up on a lawsuit accusing internet behemoth Google of being an illegal monopoly.

“Basically, we allege in our complaint that Google unilaterally maintains a monopoly power over search engines and related advertising markets through a series of anti-competitive or exclusionary contracts,” Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

Brnovich said the company’s practices violate the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the attorneys general for 35 states plus the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.

“We basically want to restore healthy competition to the marketplace,” Brnovich said. “No remedies are off the table, including everything from divestiture of assets to reforming contracts.

“But our overriding goal is to preserve competition and protect consumers.”

The case is the third antitrust salvo to slam Google during the past two months as the Department of Justice and attorneys general from across the U.S. weigh in with their different variations on how they believe the company is abusing its immense power to do bad things that harm other businesses, innovation and even consumers who find its services to be indispensable.

In many ways, the flurry of U.S. antitrust suits represent an attempt to catch up with European regulators who have spent the past several years trying to crack down on Google, mostly with huge fines, to little noticeable effect so far.

On Wednesday, 10 states led by Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Google accusing it of “anti-competitive conduct” in the online advertising industry, including a deal to manipulate sales with rival Facebook.

It targeted the heart of Google’s business — the digital ads that generate nearly all of its revenue, as well as all the money that its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., depends upon to help finance a range of far-flung technology projects.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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