The Ohio attorney general has launched an unprecedented legal process to keep Google under the same regulations as state utilities.
According to Ohio, Google is a public utility, just like a power company. This American state is therefore asking the courts to reclassify the search engine, accused of abuse of a dominant position by a growing number of authorities. Dave Yost, the attorney general of Ohio, on Tuesday launched an unprecedented legal process to bring Google under the same regulations as public services.
“Google is using its dominance of internet search to direct Ohioans to its own products. It is discriminatory and anti-competitive, ”he said, quoted in a statement. “When you own the railways or the electricity networks or the telecommunications antennas, you have to treat the users the same and make sure that everyone has access to the service in question.”
The prosecutor’s office gives an example of a search for a plane ticket: “If the results direct the person to the Google Flights service, that person does not see offers from competitors such as Orbitz and Travelocity.” The California group responded that the lawsuits were unfounded and that they would defend themselves in court.
“Running Google like a gas company”
If Dave Yost won, “Google Search results would become worse and it would be more difficult for small businesses to get in touch with customers,” responded a spokesperson for the tech giant, in response to a solicitation from AFP. “The people of Ohio don’t want the government to run Google like a gas or electricity company at all.”
Ohio is one of dozens of US states that launched lawsuits against the firm in late 2020 for breach of competition law. On Monday, the French Competition Authority fined Google € 220 million for its practices in the online advertising market, and also demanded reform commitments that should have global reach.
The instance had been seized by three press groups: the French “Le Figaro”, which then withdrew from the proceedings, the Belgian Rossel, and the global media giant News Corp, controlled by the Australian-American billionaire Rupert. Murdoch.
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.