Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The Trump administration on Tuesday sued tech giant Google, claiming in a landmark case that it has used monopolistic powers to dominate Internet searches.
In a lawsuit joined by 11 states, the Justice Department accuses Google of violating the Sherman Act, which bars monopolistic business practices, by creating "continuous and self-reinforcing monopolies in multiple markets."
"Two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy startup with an innovative way to search the emerging Internet. That Google is long gone," the suit states.
"The Google of today is a monopoly gatekeeper for the Internet, and one of the wealthiest companies on the planet, with a market value of $1 trillion and annual revenue exceeding $160 billion."
The department says Google employs "anti-competitive practices" that are "especially pernicious because they deny rivals scale to compete effectively."
"For many years, Google has used anti-competitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising -- the cornerstones of its empire," the suit adds.
The 64-page suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the greatest antitrust action ever brought by the federal government against a technology company and follows a year-long antitrust investigation by prosecutors.
The lawsuit also follows a report by congressional investigators this month that concluded Google, along with Amazon, Apple and Facebook, exploit and abuse their monopolistic dominance in key industry sectors.
Tuesday's suit says Google holds 88% of the general search market in the United States and has locked up search distribution channels needed by competitors through "exclusionary contracts" with Apple and distributors of Google's Android mobile operating system.
"As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation -- this time in vital digital markets," Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement.
Google responded by calling the lawsuit "deeply flawed."
"People use Google because they choose to -- not because they're forced to or because they can't find alternatives," it said.
The company, which reported $162 billion in revenues last year, promised a full response later Tuesday.
Eleven Republican state attorneys general are plaintiffs in the case -- Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas.
Another group of attorneys general, who have been investigating Google's purported anti-competitive practices, say they could join the lawsuit once their inquiry concludes.