(Reuters) – The US Department of Justice is preparing a survey of Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC to determine whether the technology company is violating laws to ensure fair competition, two sources familiar with the issue.
The potential investigation, which was first reported on Friday, is the latest challenge for Google, which is already facing a series of complaints about its business practices from both rivals and democrats and Republicans. EU regulatory measures have already led to several billion dollars of fines and reforms of Google's business practices.
The US probe would focus on accusations Google gave preference to its own companies in search results, one source said.
Google refused to comment on the possible probe.
The latest news highlights a growing US backlash aimed at Silicon Valley companies and marks one of the biggest steps than the Trump administration toward regulating a giant technology company.
Below, the antitrust issues of Google are explained by other companies, critics in Washington and the EU, and how a Department of Justice could affect the proliferating US company.
Regulators looking at Google
Google's dominance on the search engine market has transformed it from a start to a world's most valuable company.
Google controls much of the technology used to buy online ads and its Android operatin G system runs most of the world's smartphones.
The digital advertising revenue accounted for about 85% of Google's parent alphabet revenue last year.
Some companies, including Yelp Inc. and TripAdvisor Inc., have long complained that Google skew search results and use their market dominance to unfairly market their own services over theirs.
Google has said it is open to how it promotes its own services and its focus has been on promoting consumers.
The US Federal Trade Commission, which enforces antitrust laws with DOJ, has previously investigated Google's business practices. The 201
Under FTC pressures, Google agreed to end the practice of "scratching" reviews and other data from its competitors' websites for its own products and allowing advertisers to export data to independently evaluate campaigns.
Europe's competition authority has taken a harder attitude towards Google and fined a total of more than $ 9 billion in recent years.
In an agreement with the EU in 2017, Google agreed to pay $ 2.7 billion to settle claims that it was unfairly controlling its business against its buying platform. In March, it fined $ 1.7 billion in a case focused on illegal practices in search advertising brochures from 2006 to 2016.
Can you try to break up Google?
Yes, in theory but experts have said that such measures against a technical company are unlikely.
The Justice Department must file a lawsuit and convince the judge that Google has undermined the competition.
It is rare to break up a company but not extremely with Standard Oil Co. Inc. and AT & T Inc. are the two largest examples.
Perhaps the best known case is the government's effort to break up Microsoft Corp. The Justice Department won a preliminary victory in 2000 but was turned over for appeal. The case was settled with Microsoft intact.
Antitrust probes in the justice department more often result in an agreement to change certain business practices.
Why more review by Google?
Google and Facebook Inc. collect personal information about users to target their ads.
Computer personality has become an increasingly important issue, as large violations have compromised personal data from users of the Internet and social media.
The Congress has long been expected to raise the privacy laws after California passed a strict confidentiality law which comes into force on January 1.
Some Republican party laws have also said that Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc. discriminate against conservative views and suppress freedom of speech. Representatives of the companies have denied the censorship requirements.
Soon after news about the possible Google probe, Republican later said Josh Hawley on Twitter: "This is very big news and delayed." As Advocate General of Missouri, Sen. Hawley investigated Google's allegations that it abused the content of competitors and claims that it demoted competitors' websites in search results.
In addition to the congress, Google's Washington critics have taken with US colonel general as in March, the Chinese military benefited from the work that Google did in China, where the technology giant has long sought a greater presence.
Google, who did not comment on that time, has previously said it has invested in China for years and plans to continue doing so, but also continued to work with the US government on health, cyber security projects. and other areas.