As with railroads, power grids or telecommunications outlets, Google must “treat its users the same, and ensure that everyone has access to the service in question.” At least that’s what Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost thinks, who wants the California giant to be subject to the same regulations as public services.
He therefore launched on Tuesday an unprecedented legal procedure against Google for abuse of dominant position. An announcement that comes the day after the firm was sentenced to a fine of 220 million euros for its practices in the online advertising market by the French Competition Authority.
“Discriminatory and anti-competitive”
“Google is using its dominance of internet search to direct Ohioans to its own products. It is discriminatory and anti-competitive, ”said the prosecutor, quoted in a press release. Ohio had already launched, at the end of 2020, with a dozen American states, lawsuits against the firm, for infringement of competition law.
The prosecutor’s office gives as an example the search for a plane ticket. “If the results direct the person to the Google Flights service, that person doesn’t see offers from competitors like Orbitz and Travelocity. “
Multiplication of procedures in Europe and the United States
The California group responded that the lawsuits were unfounded and that they would defend themselves in court. If Dave Yost won, “Google Search results would get worse and it would be more difficult for small businesses to get in touch with customers,” responded a Google spokesperson.
The procedures are multiplying in Europe, and more recently in the United States, against the colossi of Silicon Valley, who came out of the pandemic even stronger. Facebook and Amazon, in particular, also face lawsuits and investigations.