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06 June 2019

Wall Street Journal Suggests Google Might Face Antitrust Investigation In United States

The Justice Department in the United States is gearing up for an antitrust investigation of Google set to examine the search giant's internal practices and search rankings in “a move that could present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department "has been laying the groundwork for the probe," citing people familiar with the investigation.

In March, the European Commission fined Google €1.49 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules after finding that the tech giant's conduct had "harmed competition and consumers, and stifled innovation."

The Commission found that Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google's rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.

Announcing the fine, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts.

"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition.”