01/24/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2023 16:32
I want to reiterate the Attorney General's thanks to the leadership and staff of the Antitrust Division for all their work to advance robust competition and to ensure that the American people have equal opportunity in the marketplace.
I'd like to take a few moments to put this complaint into context.
At its core, antitrust is about economic justice. And today's landmark action against Google underscores that it is a priority of this Justice Department to fight the abuse of market power. We know that free and fair competition is essential to economic freedom. And we know that anticompetitive conduct threatens innovation, weakens workers' rights, and stifles free expression. When any company, including a big technology company, violates the antitrust laws, our economy and our democracy suffer.
Today's complaint is a perfect example of why competition matters. Americans rely on the internet for news and for community. And advertising revenue is essential for publishers to produce and share ideas and writings. But we allege that Google has captured that revenue for its own profits and punished publishers who sought out alternatives. Those actions have weakened the free and open internet and increased advertising costs for businesses and for the United States government, including for our military.
Today's complaint is also just one example of the department's broader efforts to root out anticompetitive behavior regardless of how and where it might arise.
Just a few months ago, the Antitrust Division scored a critical win for authors by blocking a merger of two major publishing houses, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. The merger would have substantially lessened authors' compensation for their work and diminished opportunities for new authors to tell new stories.
That merger was one of five that have been blocked or abandoned as a result of the division's recent work; other abandoned mergers include two that would have strained the global supply chain by decreasing competition for shipping materials.
And the Penguin Random House case is just one example of the department's efforts to protect workers. This past summer, we secured an $85 million payment from poultry companies to settle allegations that they fixed workers' wages and benefits.
We have also reinvigorated criminal enforcement of the Sherman Act, including prosecutions for criminal wage-fixing, labor-market allocation, bid-rigging, and procurement fraud.
And we have acted to ensure that corporate directors do not sit on competing boards, reviving a vital and underenforced rule of antitrust law.
These efforts by the Antitrust Division are only a snapshot of the broader work happening across the department to advance economic justice, protect workers' rights and ensure fair prices for products we use and rely on, like health insurance, airline tickets and food for our families. Today's suit against Google exemplifies that we will continue to marshal our resources across divisions to promote competition and protect American workers and consumers.
I'll now turn it over to Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who will speak more about the details of our complaint.