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US Justice Department is imminently preparing a Google antitrust investigation

Google could quickly face an antitrust investigation from the US Department of Justice pertaining to its search company and potentially other elements of the company’s sprawling software program and solutions empire, according to a late Friday evening report from The Wall Street Journal. The DOJ is mentioned to have spent the previous couple of weeks preparing for the probe. Following publication of the WSJ’s story, The Washington Post is confirming an imminent antitrust probe as nicely.

Citing anonymous sources, the WSJ says the Federal Trade Commission, which operates alongside the DOJ to bring federal antitrust instances, will defer to the Justice Department in this case. Prior to this, the FTC brought a case against the enterprise in 2011 associated to the placement of tracking cookies in Apple’s Safari browser. That case was resolved a year later with a $22.five million civil penalty judgement, at the time the biggest such judgement the FTC had ever earned in court. According to the WSJ, the FTC then investigated Google in 2013 for broad antitrust violations, but closed the case with no taking any action against the search giant. Now, the DOJ is top the charge on a new, potentially unprecedented antitrust evaluation of the enterprise.

The 2011 FTC penalty pales in comparison to the 3 antitrust fines levied against Google by the European Union, which has fined Google billions of dollars associated to its Google Search practices, the software program it bundles with its Android operating technique, and most lately non-compete contracts it forced prospects to sign when working with its AdSense solution. Google’s antitrust bill from the EU now totals €8.two billion ($9.three billion).

In the US, Google has gone largely unscathed, even as its turn out to be, alongside Facebook, one particular of the most dominant digital marketing organizations on the planet. Google has similarly dominant positions in the markets for search engines, net browsers, mobile operating systems, e-mail, and many other solution categories, all of which help in its potential to gather information and serve targeted advertisements. That’s led to Google becoming a prime target for politicians and regulators hunting to rein in the energy of Silicon Valley, most prominent of which is 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Google and the DOJ did not promptly respond to requests for comment.

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