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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.

Go deeper: Tech's antitrust probes push on in face of pandemic

Go deeper

Zuckerberg testified before FTC during antitrust probe into Facebook

Photo: Tobias Hase/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified during a Federal Trade Commission hearing this week as part of the agency's antitrust investigation into the social media company, Politico reports.

Why it matters via Axios' Ashley Gold: The FTC deposing Zuckerberg is not a surprising move in an antitrust case that may result in a lawsuit. It also gives the agency some cover after being criticized for not having Zuckerberg testify in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal case.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.