The Justice Department has taken early steps toward opening a federal antitrust investigation into Google, according to three people familiar with the matter, marking a new chapter in the tech giant’s troubles with regulators around the world who contend the company is too large and threatens rivals and consumers.
The move thrusts Google back under the regulatory microscope in the United States roughly six years after another federal agency probed the search and advertising behemoth on grounds that its business practices threatened competitors – though the government spared the company from major punishment at the time.
To date, only the EU authorities have taken serious action to respond to Google’s privacy blunders and anticompetitive business practices. In the United States, the response has been a shrug or a slap on the wrist or both.
But it sounds like Google’s C-Suite might have to start sweating a bit more in the near future. If this investigation is for real, it would represent a long overdue step towards accountability.