The Justice Department is preparing antitrust charges against Alphabet, Google’s parent company, possibly as early as this month, the New York Times reported. Attorney General William Barr is pushing the case despite objections from Justice Department lawyers, who say more time is needed to prepare the case and worry that pushing the charges this month could weaken the case’s final punishment, the Times reported.
The Justice Department reportedly began investigating Google last June, focusing on its vast search business and other parts of the company. The Justice Department also opened a broader investigation last July into whether big technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google are stifling competition. The review will “take into account the broad concerns expressed by consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs about search, social media and some online retail services,” the department said.
As part of the antitrust investigation, the ceos of Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon testified before the House Judiciary Committee on July 29 and questioned the company’s business practices.
Barr, who has been interested in investigating Google for some time, told senators at his confirmation hearing last January that he would like to see the Justice Department investigate big technology companies. “I don’t think big is necessarily bad, but I think a lot of people want to know how these behemoths are formed in Silicon Valley.”
President Trump has been complaining about Google’s bias against him for some time, and in 2018 he tweeted that the search for “Trump News” had resulted in “totally negative results” and that “Google and other companies are suppressing conservative voices and hiding positive messages and news.”
Google spokesman Jose Castaneda told The Times that the company “continues to participate in the ongoing investigation.”
Neither Google or the Justice Department responded to requests for comment further.