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Justice Department reportedly plans to file antitrust case against Google as early as this month

Justice Department reportedly plans to file antitrust case against Google as early as this month


The DOJ has been investigating Google for more than a year

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Illustration by Alex Castro

The Department of Justice is preparing to file antitrust charges against Google’s parent company Alphabet possibly as early as this month, The New York Times reported. Attorney General William Barr is moving forward with the case despite the objections of Justice Department lawyers who say they need more time to prepare their case and worry that pushing to file charges this month could weaken the case, according to the Times.

The Justice Department opened its probe into Google last June, reportedly with a focus on its massive search business and other parts of the company. The Justice Department also opened another, broader probe last July to investigate whether big technology firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google were stifling competition. The department said the review would “consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online.”

The CEOs of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon testified before the House Judiciary Committee on July 29th as part of the antitrust investigation and were peppered with questions about their companies’ business practices.

Barr has been interested in investigating Google for some time, telling senators at his confirmation hearing last January that he would like to see the Justice Department look into big tech companies. “I don’t think big is necessarily bad, but I think a lot of people wonder [how] these big behemoths have taken shape in Silicon Valley.”

President Trump has complained without evidence for some time that Google is biased against him, tweeting in 2018 that a search for “Trump News” brought up entirely negative results, and that “Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.”

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda told the Times the company was going to “continue to engage with ongoing investigations.” He declined to comment to The Verge.

The Justice Department did not reply to a request for comment.

UPDATE: Sept. 3rd 5:26PM ET: Adds that Google spokesman declined comment