U.S. Justice Department going 'full tilt' on tech antitrust probe – official


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Google logo is seen in this illustration taken

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is moving “full-tilt” on its antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google (O:) and other Big Tech platforms, the department’s second-ranking official told Reuters.

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told Reuters in an interview this week at the department’s headquarters that he could not commit to a specific date by which the department would decide whether to bring an antitrust suit against Google.

“We are going full-tilt. It’s a major priority,” Rosen said. “We have a great team working really hard to get on top of the documents, hearing from people in the industry and the like.”

Rosen said the probe is not being driven by political factors. He said the goal is to act “as soon as possible” based on a review of the merits.

“This is one of those issues that people from lots of different points of view are very concerned about,” he added. “I can’t tell you today what the date will be.”

Numerous media outlets have reported the Justice Department is likely to file an antitrust complaint against Google. Attorney General William Barr told The Wall Street Journal in March he wanted the Justice Department to make a final decision on the Google probe this summer.

Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister said “while we continue to engage with ongoing investigations, our focus is firmly on providing free services that help people every day, lower costs for small businesses, and enable increased choice and competition.”

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State attorneys general have separate probes of Google, and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee has ongoing investigations of Google, Amazon.com Inc (O:), Facebook Inc (O:) and Apple Inc (O:). Many states are likely to join a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google, Reuters reported in June.

The Justice Department said in July 2019 it was opening a broad investigation of major technology firms on whether they engage in anticompetitive practices.

Rosen declined to say how quickly the government might resolve other tech probes, but noted there has been “some division of labor” with the Federal Trade Commission.

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