US to file antitrust charges against Google

Google's office in New York City. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Google's office in New York City. (File Photo: IANS)

The US government is ready to sue Google more monopolizing online ads. The company is about to face one of the biggest anti-trust lawsuits by U.S. The federal-state regulators are alleging that Google has abused its dominance on online ads.

The Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are likely to file antitrust lawsuits against Alphabet-owned Google, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Friday that cited people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department is moving toward bringing a case as soon as this summer.

“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican is likely to file a case, probably in the fall,” according to the report.

On a call with the media, Paxton said the primary focus of the investigation was the broad reach of Google’s online advertising network.

“We think Google has 7,000 data points on just about every human being alive. They control the buy-side (of online advertising), the sell-side and the market which we are concerned gives them way too much power,” Paxton was quoted as saying.

In a statement to The Verge, Google said: “We continue to engage with the ongoing investigations led by the Department of Justice and Attorney General Paxton and we don’t have any updates or comments on speculation”.

Google has turned over more than 100,000 documents to investigators as part of the ongoing anti-trust probe.

Google's office in New York City. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Google’s office in New York City. (File Photo: IANS)

The case, if filed, would be the first major US antitrust action against a tech giant since the Bill Clinton administration’s pursuit of Microsoft in the 1990s.

In September last year, Attorneys General of 50 US states, led by Texas, announced a probe into Google’s anti-trust practices, focusing on whether the tech giant is overly dominant in the online advertising market and in internet searches.

“This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet, as they dominate the buyer, seller and auction site,” said Paxton.

“If advertising costs are higher, advertisers pay more, and ultimately that’s passed on to consumers” he added.

The European Union’s antitrust regulators last year fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominance in the online search market by blocking rivals.

In 2013, Google said it would change some practices after it agreed to a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission. The FTC had been concerned that some of Google’s business practices could stifle competition.

In 2010, the company received an anti-trust complaint from the European Commission regarding the ranking of shopping search results and ads, which resulted in Google being fined $2.7 billion in 2017