The U.S. Justice Department is seeking final documents from rival companies to complete an antitrust investigation into Google, three people familiar with the investigation said today. The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit against Google this summer. In addition to the Justice Department, attorneys general in several U.S. states have also launched separate investigations into Google. Separately, the House Judiciary Committee is investigating Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
The Justice Department has asked companies concerned about Google’s misuse of its advertising clout, as well as those that have data that could be used to sue Google against antitrust, by the end of June, according to people familiar with the matter. Of course, the deadline may also be extended.
Those familiar with the matter did not say what charges the indictment would bring. Justice Department officials and some state attorneys general will hold an online meeting Friday to discuss the investigation, one of the people said.
Google offers free web search, email and other services, but makes a profit from advertising. Google currently controls a third of the world’s online advertising spending, but has a 90 per cent share of some ad technology tools, including Google Ad Manager.
Google has also been accused of abusing the dominance of android, its smartphone operating system. Platforms such as review site Yelp say Google favours its own products in search results.
In addition to the Justice Department, dozens of state attorneys general, led by Texas, are also investigating Google, and they are sure to be asked to join federal lawsuits, many of whom may do so. “They are coordinating the matter, ” said one of the people familiar with the matter. “
Last July, the U.S. Justice Department announced a massive antitrust investigation into Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon to determine whether the four tech giants were involved in antitrust competition.
The U.S. Department of Justice said at the time that it would review whether and how market-leading online platforms gain market power and whether there are actions that reduce competition, discourage innovation, or harm consumers. In addition, the dominance and suspicious business practices of these companies will be investigated.
Later, the Texas attorney general’s office said in a statement that attorneys general in eight U.S. states met with U.S. Attorney General William Barr to discuss the impact of large technology companies on competition and evaluate antitrust measures.