Google was sued by the Justice Department on Friday over its actions to stifle competition in the smartphone market and to restrict smartphone manufacturers from incorporating Apple’s technology in their devices.
The suit alleges that Google’s Android operating system violates the law and that the company has stifled efforts by smartphone manufacturers to provide alternatives to Google’s software, including by discriminating against manufacturers that choose to incorporate Apple’s iPhone technology.
“Google is a company that earned its money by creating excellent products that serve consumers and address real needs. Why do they need to hold back innovation through their anticompetitive Android business practices?” Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for antitrust, said in a statement.
Mr. Delrahim said the action was intended to deal a blow to Google’s efforts to compete with the likes of Apple.
“Our hope is to make it harder for the company to use Android as a vehicle to stifle competition and harm consumers in the smartphone marketplace,” he said.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/AFP/Getty Images
The suit seeks an injunction to stop Google from anti-competitive practices and unspecified monetary damages.
A Google spokeswoman said the company had not yet seen the suit. But she said: “We’re open to thoughtful discussions about how we can continue to make Android the best mobile platform for developers, device makers and consumers.”
The suit comes as the Department of Justice is conducting a broad antitrust investigation into Apple’s business practices, including its provisions for developers. Apple also makes iPhones, but unlike Google, it did not cooperate with the antitrust probe.
In the Google suit, the department is asking the court to prohibit Google from using its Android technology to hinder the production of smartphones that rival its own.
It is also asking the court to bar Google from abusing its vast online advertising platform to force manufacturers to include its preferred search engine in phones — as well as a variety of other anti-competitive practices.