Politics

Google Settles Smaller Lawsuits as It Prepares for More Antitrust Fights

In December, Google spent $700 million to resolve states’ claims that its Play Store had strong-armed app makers into high fees and tough terms. About six weeks after that, Google paid $350 million to end a lawsuit accusing it of improperly sharing users’ private information.

On Monday morning, a Massachusetts company called Singular Computing said it had resolved its lawsuit with Google, involving claims that the tech giant had stolen its chip designs. Singular said in a news release that it had “entered into a settlement and patent license agreement with Google.”

Google is also on the verge of a fourth legal settlement in three months to end claims that it has misrepresented the privacy settings of its Chrome web browser.

In just a few months, Google has spent well over $1 billion to clear the decks for court fights that could prove far more damaging to the company and that could reshape the entire internet industry: two federal suits brought by the Department of Justice, targeting Google’s search engine and its advertising business.

The Justice Department accused Google of rigging the search market through preferential deals with phone makers like Apple and Samsung. The company will return to court in May for closing arguments in what is likely to be the biggest legal test for a tech company since U.S. v. Microsoft more than two decades ago.

In the other federal lawsuit, expected to go to trial in September, the Justice Department said that Google “corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry” by taking control of the wide-swath of tools that advertisers and publishers depended on to buy and sell ads. Google has denied wrongdoing in both cases, saying that its search engine promotes online competition and its ad technology has provided a financial lifeline to publishers and other online businesses.

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