The US Department of Justice and multiple state attorneys general are reportedly preparing to bring another antitrust lawsuit against Google over its online advertising and search engine dominance. The suit could be filed in summer and would explore whether Google uses its dominant position to suppress competition, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed sources.
“I’m hoping that we bring it to fruition early summer,” Attorney General William Barr told the Journal back in March. “And by fruition I mean decision time.”
In March, Sens. Josh Hawley and Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Barr, pushing for ‘s search practices. Google has dominance in advertising because of “its enormous search engine market share,” their March 10 letter said. “Google’s online advertising conduct is inextricably linked to Google’s search activities,” the letter said. “At more than 90% of the global market share for search, the opportunities for anticompetitive conduct are substantial.”
The letter suggested that Google attained search engine dominance “through illicit means,” pointing to the European Union fining Google $2.7 billion for manipulating search results in its favor.
Google’s digital advertising practices are already the subject of an antitrust probe by 50 attorneys general. The probe was announced in September 2019, with 48 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico taking part in the investigation of whether Google uses anticompetitive practices to achieve dominance.
Google and the Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.