The U.S. Department of Justice could file an antitrust case against Google parent Alphabet by the end of the month, The New York Times reported citing unidentified sources.
The case will focus on alleged monopolistic practices the tech company employs, using its dominance in internet searches and how it exploits that to control online advertising.
Justice Department officials have told the lawyers working on the case to complete their work by the end of September, the Times said citing three anonymous sources, who complained that the deadline was opposed by the majority of the attorneys.
They argued they needed more time and there was disagreement as to how broad the case should be, but Attorney General William Barr believed the investigation – which is now in its 15th month – was proceeding too slowly, the Times said citing an anonymous senior Justice Department official.
Barr, who worked for the telecom company GTE for 14 years, has shown a deep interest in the case, which some have characterized – if filed – as on par in importance as the antitrust case that broke up Standard Oil in 1911. Barr has requested regular briefings on the case, the Times said, and studied “thick binders” of information on vacation and returned with ideas and notes.
The Times said that attorney generals in several states also are pursuing their own investigations into Alphabet. But while Democrats accuse President Donald Trump of rushing the case – in an attempt to declare an achievement before the election, Republicans countercharge that Democrats are delaying, hoping to bring the case under a Joe Biden administration.
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