U.S. to Charge Google with Antitrust Violations

Posted on May 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google with 0 Comments

The New York Times reported today that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to file two antitrust charges against Google as soon as next month. This report was corroborated by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the NYT report, which cites “two people with knowledge of the situation,” the DOJ’s action against Google will be its biggest antitrust case since the infamous Microsoft case, and it will likely be joined by the attorneys general of several U.S. states as well. The WSJ says that the states, which are led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and will include New York, could file their own complaints a few months later.

Google’s violations cut to the core of the search giant’s business model, which combines its acumen in Internet Search with online advertising. And it is dominant in both areas. The firm currently controls 90 percent of online searches in the United States and it earns roughly one dollar for every three spent on online advertising in this country.

And while the details of the charges are still confidential, no one will be surprised to discover that Google has “abused its dominant position in online search to harm competitors,” as the Times puts it. The report suggests that this first action against Big Tech will “set a benchmark” for coming antitrust complaints against Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, each of which is now being investigated by various U.S. regulatory agencies and the U.S. Congress for different abuses.

And Google, of course, is no stranger to antitrust abuse: The company has been charged for its abuses in the European Union in smartphones and online advertising already, and the European Commission is actively prepping more complaints against Google.

“We don’t have any updates or comments on speculation,” a Google statement notes. “Our focus is firmly on providing services that help consumers, support thousands of businesses, and enable increased choice and competition.”

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