The Department of Justice will is preparing to slap Google with an antitrust case over the next several weeks, according to the New York Times - which insists, based on five sources, that Attorney General Bill Barr "overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case against one of the world’s wealthiest, most formidable technology companies."
H/T: Zero Hedge
The Times is suggesting, based on leaks, that Barr is rushing the case for political purposes and the charges are premature.
The Google case could also give Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr an election-season achievement on an issue that both Democrats and Republicans see as a major problem: the influence of the biggest tech companies over consumers and the possibility that their business practices have stifled new competitors and hobbled legacy industries like telecom and media.
When the Justice Department opened its inquiry into Alphabet in June 2019, career lawyers in the antitrust division were eager to take part. Some within the division described it as the case of the century, on par with the breakup of Standard Oil after the Gilded Age. It also offered a chance for the United States to catch up to European regulators who had been aggressive watchdogs of the technology sector.
Alphabet was an obvious antitrust target. Through YouTube, Google search, Google Maps and a suite of online advertising products, consumers interact with the company nearly every time they search for information, watch a video, hail a ride, order delivery in an app or see an ad online. Alphabet then improves its products based on the information it gleans from every user interaction, making its technology even more dominant.
The key here is there's consensus to bring a Google antitrust case. There is no clear standard for how 'strong' to make the case because we haven't done one of these in 20 years. Barr pushing lawyers to hurry up is reasonable. https://t.co/uaLnICEUMJ— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) September 3, 2020
The U.S. Justice Department, which has been conducting an antitrust investigation of Google, plans to bring a lawsuit against it as early as this month, according to sources https://t.co/buAN2hLxY8— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) September 4, 2020
Antitrust enforcement against Google is a bipartisan issue.— Luther Lowe (@lutherlowe) September 3, 2020
Watch how the Democratic Chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee opens his hearing, despite having Bezos in the hot seat for the first time ever & scrutiny of Facebook at fever pitch:https://t.co/Yc9M8btGqF
AG Bill Barr sets a September deadline for Google antitrust charges— Karli 🇺🇸 (@KarluskaP) September 3, 2020