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FACTBOX-Big Tech comes under rapid fire from five U.S. lawsuits, more probes underway

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google faced its third major lawsuit in two months on Thursday following years of complaints that it and other big tech firms used their massive market power to dominate competitors in pursuit of profits.

The three lawsuits against Google and two against Facebook Inc come more than a year after it was revealed that the U.S. Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and big groups of state attorneys general had major antitrust probes under way of Big Tech platforms Google, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Facebook.

Following are major U.S. government lawsuits and investigations regarding Big Tech.

1) 38 U.S. states and territories sue Google

A lawsuit by 38 U.S. states and territories accuses Google of abusing its market power to try to make its search engine as dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in phones.

2) Justice Department lawsuit against Google

The U.S. Justice Department sued Google in October, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals. The states that filed their lawsuit on Thursday have said they will seek to consolidate their complaint with the Justice Department’s.

3) Texas, others sue Google

Texas, backed by nine other states, filed a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google this week, accusing the internet search company of breaking antitrust law in how it runs its online advertising business.

4) and 5) Federal Trade Commission and states sue Facebook

The FTC and a major coalition of states are asking that Facebook be forced to sell WhatsApp and Instagram, saying the social media company used a “buy or bury” strategy to snap up rivals and keep smaller competitors at bay.

Justice Department investigates Apple:

This probe, revealed in June 2019, appears to focus on Apple’s app store. Some app developers have accused Apple of introducing new products very similar to existing apps created by other developers and sold in the Apple Store, and then trying to banish the older apps from the store because they compete with Apple’s new product. Apple says it seeks to have only the highest-quality apps in the app store.

Justice Department probing Facebook and Amazon:

In July 2019, the Justice Department said it was expanding its Big Tech probes to include “search, social media, and some retail services online” - an apparent reference to Facebook and Amazon.

Federal Trade Commission on Amazon:

In its investigation of Amazon, the FTC is likely looking at the inherent conflict of interest of Amazon competing with small sellers on its marketplace platform, including allegations that it used information from sellers on its platform to decide what products it would introduce.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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