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Justice Department Reportedly Preparing Antitrust Probe of Google


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Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

The U.S. Justice Department reportedly is planning an antitrust investigation into Alphabet's Google subsidiary.

Credit: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

The U.S. Justice Department is planning an antitrust investigation into Alphabet's Google subsidiary, according to several reports on Friday. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The report comes amid discussion from politicians and the public about whether large technology companies should be broken up. Government pushback on Alphabet in search could hit at the core one of the most highly valued publicly traded companies in the world.

Alphabet racked up $136.8 billion in revenue in 2018, with 85% of it coming from advertising. Google controls more than 70% of the search engine market, according to NetMarketShare.

Google has faced antitrust pressure in the past.

In 2013, Google said it would change some practices after it agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The FTC had been concerned that some of Google's business practices could stifle competition

In 2010, the company received an antitrust complaint from the European Commission regarding ranking of shopping search results and ads, which resulted in Google being fined $2.7 billion in 2017, according to Alphabet's latest annual report. In 2016, the EC complained about practices related to Google's Android operating system, leading to a $5.1 billion charge in 2018.

And in March the European Union ordered Google to pay around $1.7 billion because of advertising behavior.

Recently, Google has also come under political pressure in the U.S.

 

From CNBC
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