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Google faces antitrust lawsuit on U.S. mobile internet search

A posed picture shows a phone displaying the Google search page in New York August 15, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A posed picture shows a phone displaying the Google search page in New York August 15, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Consumer rights law firm Hagens Berman said it filed a nationwide antitrust class-action lawsuit against Google Inc alleging the company "illegally monopolized" the Internet and mobile search market in the United States.

The lawsuit alleges that Google has expanded its monopoly of the internet search market by pre-loading its applications onto Android mobile devices through its Mobile Application Distribution Agreements.

According to the lawsuit, Google's role in placing this suite of apps, including Google Play and YouTube, has hampered the market and kept the price of devices made by competing manufactures like Samsung Electronics and HTC Corp artificially high.

Google said Android and Google can be used independent of each other.

"Anyone can use Android without Google and anyone can use Google without Android. Since Android's introduction, greater competition in smartphones has given consumers more choices at lower prices," Matt Kallman, a Google spokesman, told Reuters.

Steve Berman, the attorney representing consumers, alleged that Google had not achieved its monopoly by offering a better search engine, but through anti-competitive placement and market manipulation.

The case is in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 5:14-cv-02007-HRL.

(Reporting by Arnab Sen in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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