The U.S. Justice Department and state attorneys general may file antitrust lawsuits against search giant Google, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Attorney General William Barr, according to The Journal May 15, sees this probe against Alphabet Inc.-owned Google as a top priority. He reportedly told the outlet in March that he hopes the Justice Department will make its decision by this summer. “I’m hoping that we bring it to fruition early summer,” Mr. Barr said, before adding, “And by fruition I mean, decision time.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced during a mid-May Zoom videoforum moderated by Media Research Center president Brent Bozell:
I’m actually in the middle of an investigation of Facebook and Google. Several years ago, we became concerned about the potential monopolistic power of some of these technology companies.
Paxton cited that what he loved about America is the ability to challenge those in power “whether it's in the political arena, government” or “businesses that have excessive power.”
He also said that Google has “7,000 data points on every, just about every human being alive,” which it uses to “affect your decision-making in so many ways that, I think, a lot of people aren’t aware of.”
Paxton specified that this probe will focus on Google’s advertising model from an antitrust perspective rather than purely on its censorship “because that’s where they make their money.”
He went on to explain just how firm a stranglehold Google has on online advertising:
As an example, Google has control of advertising on the Internet. If you — They make over a hundred billion dollars a year on the Internet on advertising. They control the buy-side, the sell-side, and the market — which we are concerned gives them way too much power.
A Google spokeswoman was quoted in The Journal as having 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.” She also claimed that Google’s focus as a company thus far has merely been “firmly on providing services that help consumers, support thousands of businesses and enable increased choice and competition.”
The Journal observed that these lawsuits may devastate Google’s business model: “The lawsuits—if they are filed—could pose a direct threat to Google’s businesses and rank among the most significant antitrust cases in U.S. history, alongside the government’s antitrust case against Microsoft Corp.”