Months of investigations into Google’s alleged violation of antitrust laws is expected to culminate in a lawsuit as early as next week, sources told Reuters.
When the government’s case against Google reaches a courtroom, prosecutors will focus on the multinational technology conglomerate’s power over internet searches, the news service reported.
Sources told Reuters the complaint is expected to accuse the world’s dominant search engine of hurting competitors including Microsoft Corp.’s Bing.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has also been investigating Google’s search advertising, the ads that appear under a search box when someone looks up a word or phrase.
The DOJ is urging state attorneys general to become plaintiffs in the suit.
The Mountain View, California-based company has insisted it has not committed any wrongdoing, noting users have access to other information and eCommerce sites.
Google has said users can choose Amazon to buy products and Twitter for news. In the competitive world of advertising, Google said it faces competition from many companies, including Oracle and Verizon.
While DOJ investigators examined Google’s ability to place ads across the internet and the prices it charges advertisers, the suit was narrowed to its search engine. Prosecutors say the sharp focus will allow the antitrust complaint to be filed soon and have the best chance of beating any potential court challenges.
Attorney General William Barr has vowed to bring the case against Google by Oct. 1.
In 2019, Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra said fining tech companies is not enough.
“We’re not going to solve some of these problems just by small-time fines that aren’t going to change the underlying business model of these firms,” he said. “We actually have to take a hard look at whether these behemoths are killing off innovation and competition.”
Google, Facebook Inc. Apple Inc. and Facebook have faced backlash from lawmakers and regulators around the globe. The president has supported efforts to limit the power of the tech giants. In addition, the House of Representatives and the FTC have each had their own separate investigations.