Since its launch in 2008, Google Chrome has gained a large global market share and has been a huge boost to the company’s lucrative advertising business. But there have been reports in recent days that prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice and the state attorney general’s office are mulling antitrust action against the search giant. Three people familiar with the matter said on Friday they were considering whether to force the company to spin off and sell the business.
The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to launch an antitrust action against Google in the coming weeks. If it goes ahead, it would be the first time in decades that a U.S. court has split a giant company.
Sources warned that forcing a spin-off of the $162.3bn global digital advertising cake would be a major setback for Google.
The U.S. Department of Justice is understood to be preparing to launch a separate antitrust lawsuit accusing Google of abusing its dominant position in the online search market, as soon as a week later.
Although no final decision has been made, prosecutors have asked advertising technologists, industry rivals and media publishers to take feasible steps to weaken Google’s control.
In addition, Pilitico reported last week that the lawsuit also targets Google’s use of Android’s mobile operating system to consolidate its dominance in the search engine market.
At the time of writing, however, spokesmen for Google and the Justice Department had not commented on the matter.