US state sues for Google to be declared a public utility, US News and Top Stories
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – The state of Ohio filed an unprecedented lawsuit on Tuesday, June 8, calling on a local court to declare Google as much a utility as an electric utility.
Google should be named as a government-regulated utility for its search engine and other services, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost argued in the court case.
Utilities generally provide essential goods or services, such as water or electricity, and tend to have naturally monopoly characteristics.
“When you own the railroad, the power company or the mobile phone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everyone access,” Mr. Yost said in a statement announcing the pursuit.
Mr Yost accused Google of favoring its own products, websites and services in search results, putting its competitors at a disadvantage.
At the end of last year, Ohio was among some three dozen U.S. states that have filed a federal lawsuit accusing Google of abusing its dominant position in the market. This case is still pending.
The French competition regulator on Monday fined Google 220 million euros (S $ 355 million) for promoting its own online ad serving services to the detriment of their competitors, while the US giants technology are facing increasing pressure in Europe and the United States.
The sanction is part of a settlement reached after three media groups – News Corp, the French daily Le Figaro and the Belgian group Rossel – accused Google in 2019 of having abused a dominant position in the market for the sales of advertisements for their websites and applications.
The competition authority has determined that Google is giving preferential treatment to its own AdX ad inventory marketplace and to Doubleclick Ad Exchange, its real-time platform for customers to choose and sell ads.
Google did not dispute the findings and the regulator said the company is committed to making operational changes, including better interoperability with third-party ad placement providers.
Last week, the German competition regulator said it was expanding an antitrust investigation of Google and its parent company Alphabet to include Google News Showcase, a service aimed at increasing revenues for media publishers.