May 15, 2020 - Technology

WSJ: Feds, states likely to sue Google on antitrust grounds

Illustration of a spotlight on the Google logo.

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Antitrust investigations into Google that the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 50 states and territories opened last year are likely to produce lawsuits "as soon as this summer," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Google, along with Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, has faced scrutiny from regulators over a variety of concerns, including allegations of privacy violations, anti-competitive practices, political bias, and failure to limit the spread of misinformation.

How it works: The DOJ and states would aim to prove that Google's dominant position in the online advertising marketplace constitutes a monopoly that the company has used to squelch competitors. They could also take aim at its dominance of search. Google would aim to show that its mostly free products and services benefit consumers.

Between the lines: Most antitrust litigation against tech giants has proven drawn-out and inconclusive in the past, but companies pressed to defend themselves in those cases, like Microsoft and IBM, have lost their industry leadership in the process.

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