The Department of Justice will charge Google Tuesday with violating antitrust law, according to multiple reports.
The DOJ will bring the charges following a year-long investigation into whether and how the company wielded its power in a way that hurt rivals and consumers. Google’s dominance over internet search has long been scrutinized. Its parent company, Alphabet, cleared nearly $135 billion in total ad revenue last year.
Charges have been expected for some time.
The investigation also focused more broadly on whether Google has leveraged its popular search engine to hamper competitors, unnamed people familiar with the investigation told the Wall Street Journal in May. Attorney General William Barr considered the investigation a “top priority,” according to the paper, and was pushing for the department to make a decision on whether to file a lawsuit by this summer. At the time, the paper said “all signs point toward it bringing a case.”
As the Washington Post pointed out Tuesday, it could take years for a federal court to decide whether Google violated any laws, let alone what kind of punishment the company should face if it did.
Google and other Silicon Valley stalwarts have been facing increasing scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, including the antitrust review from the Justice Department. Last year, Google-owned platform YouTube paid a record-setting $170 million settlement for collecting personal information on children without their parents’ consent.