Google could face federal anti-trust investigation
The DoJ's antitrust division has spent several weeks "laying the groundwork for the probe," which would focus on Google's business practices related to its search and other businesses, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The investigation would put Google under intense scrutiny over the tech giant's powerful position in online advertising, which some critics said left other smaller competitors in a disadvantaged position on the lucrative ads market, according to the WSJ report.
It noted that the DoJ, which shares power with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce antitrust laws, obtained the jurisdiction after both sides held talks in recent weeks.
As the world's largest search company, Google has dominated world markets for search engines, web browsers, mobile operating systems, email, YouTube, online maps and numerous other product categories.
It was probed by the FTC in 2013 for alleged broad antitrust violations, but the commission closed the case without taking any action against the search behemoth.
Google suffered a heavy blow from the European Union (EU) in June 2017 when an EU antitrust agency fined Google 2.7 billion U.S. dollars for "abusing its dominant position by systematically favoring" its own shopping comparison service.
Some prominent critics including U.S. senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, who is also a Democratic presidential candidate, have joined an increasingly stronger call for the breakup of top tech companies in the United States such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.
The critics expressed their worries over the growing, powerful influence of those tech giants on the country's political, economic and social sectors. ■