Google may soon face an antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice about its search business and potentially other aspects of its extensive software and services business, according to a late Friday night report from Wall Street Journal . The DOJ is said to have spent the last few weeks preparing the probe. The Washington Post The New York Times and Bloomberg confirm an imminent antitrust probe as well.
Referring to anonymous sources, WSJ states that the Federal Trade Commission, which works with DOJ to bring federal antitrust cases, will expose to the Justice Department in this case. Prior to this, the FTC led a case against the company in 201
The 2011 FTC sanction pales against the three antitrust fines imposed on Google by the EU, which fined Google billions of dollars related to Google's search practices, the software bundles with its Android operating system, and most recently competition contracts that forced customers to sign when they use the AdSense product. Google's antitrust bill from the EU is now $ 8.2 billion ($ 9.3 billion).
In the United States, Google has largely gone unharmed, even though, along with Facebook, one of the most dominant digital advertising companies on planet. Google also holds dominant positions in the search engine, web browser, mobile operating system, email, and many other product categories, all of which help to collect data and serve targeted ads. It has led Google to be a top target for politicians and regulators who seem to be harming the power of Silicon Valley, the most prominent being 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Google, because it does not run a traditional social platform, has mostly avoided taking heat in order to achieve Russian interference in the 2016 election in the US and for the various polling stations, far to the right organization and false news issues that have plagued Facebook and Twitter over the past three years. But Google has got itself involved in countless other controversies at the time of repeated breaches of Gmail and Chrome violations, extremism and child exploitation on YouTube, the work of the Pentagon on a drone project, the work of developing a search product for the Chinese market, and the ethical considerations and supervision of his artificial intelligence research.
Although none of these issues cross into clear antitrust territory, the imagination of Big Tech among both the public and the lawmakers against Silicon Valley has its uncontrolled domination and the lack of clear action to tackle difficult problems, created a far more contradictory atmosphere , especially around topics such as privacy, AI, work with the US government and. It again seems to have created a split between Washington and the technology industry, once friendly allies during the Obama administration, laying the groundwork for potentially significant regulatory action.
Google has also become a major target of conservatives who feel, through YouTube and Google Search, that the company speaks and shows disruption to Republicans and non-liberal views. This position has been elevated by President Donald Trump, who accused Google of raising search results against him and other conservatives. There is no indication that the theory that Google is biased against conservatives, who has no basis, actually affects this probe, but the company has been made to respond in front of the congress for perceptions of bias.
It is not clear which parts of Google's business DOJ can focus on, and whether it will echo surveys from the EU antitrust authority. The latter has taken issue with the Google Packs software with its standard Android license, the way its search engine ranking can favor its own product listings, and the ways in which the company has harmed competition in the digital advertising market through contractual terms imposed on customers. But the US is far more inclined in terms of market competition than Europe, partly because companies such as Google and Facebook have been able to grow to such tremendous size and influence with little or no barriers from regulators.
Google and DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.