5 takeaways from the government's lawsuit against Google

FILE - In this April 17, 2007 file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany. The Justice Departments lawsuit against Google alleging antitrust violations marks the governments most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Justice Department's lawsuit against Google alleging antitrust violations marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. The lawsuit claims Google has abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers.

Here are five things to know about the lawsuit and what might be coming down the line.

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GOVERNMENT BRANDS GOOGLE A MONOPOLY

After years of hemming and hawing over the matter, the U.S. government has now formally described Google as an illegal monopolist.

Just being a monopolist isn't illegal. And that's been good for Google, since it dominates roughly 90% of the market for internet searches. But abuse of monopoly can easily land a company in trouble.

The Justice Department went there, calling Google a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet” that has used “anticompetitive tactics” to maintain and extend monopolies in both search and search ads. The lawsuit alleges that Google stifled competition and innovation from smaller upstarts and harmed consumers by reducing the quality and variety of search options — and that the company also uses its monopoly money to lock in its favorable position on smartphones and in browsers.

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