The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly investigating Google for antitrust violations

Alphabet Inc.'s Google subsidiary is reportedly the target of an antitrust investigation by the US Justice Department, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The full report is behind a paywall, but the summary notes that Google will be scrutinized for its dominating search platform and other businesses.

Google has been under a bit of pressure in this area, particularly in the EU. The EU has leveraged several fines against Alphabet Inc., including a whopping 4.34 billion euros (4.86 billion dollars) penalty for blocking rival software on its dominant Android platform. The EU is also investigating Alphabet Inc. for practices pertaining to local search results and Google Adsense, both of which maintain dominant positions in their respective markets. The EU is reportedly also investigating Google's mapping technologies, among other things, potentially preparing further antitrust cases against the search giant.

In the late 90s, Microsoft was famously slapped by the US Department of Justice and the EU for its own antitrust violations, which led to the "Choose your browser" pop-up in older operating systems, alongside a range of other rules Microsoft had to follow.

Microsoft fans should be no stranger to Google's generally anti-competitive behavior over the years, refusing to allow Microsoft to develop Google apps like YouTube for the Windows Phone operating system citing ridiculous reasons. There's also reason to think Google is arbitrarily blocking features in the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge, sporting an "Edge blacklist" that disables compatibility on seemingly on a whim.

While the back-and-forth with Microsoft has been relatively petty, if the US Department of Justice finds that Google has been unfairly leveraging its dominant positions in search and other businesses to stifle competition, it could lead to severe consequences for the tech giant.

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

24 Comments
  • Here we go again.
  • Let's face it, they use their services to promote their other products/services. And that's OK until you own the world. At that point, all consumers see is what Google is promoting. I.e. their offerings. Visit Google.com? Nagged until you install Chrome!
    Install Chrome? Have a Gmail account.
    Got a Gmail account? Chat in Hangouts or whatever it is these days.
    Use an Android Phone? Here's Maps, Mail, Search, Assistant, Store... They are a monopoly that promotes their products above any other. And worse, penalizes competition. I believe they control too much and should be broken up or be forced to promote competition equally. Recent actions like the YouTube blocking of the new Edge only reinforces that view. It's about time the Justice Department grew some ***** and actually took some action. The last 20 years of inaction has lead to harm to consumers as the large companies have bought out or destroyed any competition. These days there are only a handful of tech companies left running most things you use. That is not healthy.
  • This might be reasonable under a president who wasn't a wannabe authoritarian. But it's not. This isn't rocket science. Trump doesn't do antitrust enforcement - unless there's something in it for him. And guess who has all your data?
  • This is exactly the kind of comment I was expecting to find in here. Do you realize how crazy you sound? You seem to be saying "this is a good thing to do, but I don't like Trump, so I don't like that it's happening." You're so obsessed with your hatred that you would rather have ACTUALLY bad things happen than have your fantasized monster do something good. To call him authoritarian is laughable. If he were, you would see black vans showing up at protests arresting people and a media that supports him, a la China and North Korea. If you want to say you don't like his ACTUAL policies, then that's fine and whatever because people have different interests and beliefs. However, you are fabricating nonsense to fit an agenda. It makes no sense in the context of reality.
  • This is just how it is though, and I think it will be for the foreseeable future. The same thing would have been, and was, said 5 years ago. Then again 12 years ago, then again before that. The problem is that people feel the need to relate to a 'side', and then blindly defend anything that side does while also condemning and name-calling the other. It's just ridiculous, but that's the way it is when you have so much money pouring in to fuel the hate train. I would say that we need to have more parties to solve this, but people would still act the same I am sure. One of the main problems is people will fully believe a Facebook post that is completely asinine, while also rejecting something actually researched and proven by science. This spills over into their political view and beliefs. If only people would think for themselves.
  • OK, hands up if you trust Donald Trump to regulate the collection of personal data by major tech companies! Anyone? Beuller? This isn't about hate. This is about being free of illusions about who the president of the United States is. It is not an extreme position to assert that the Trump Justice Department is not to be trusted. It's the position you take if you've been paying any attention since the Spring of 2016. Oh, and I'm not on Facebook.
  • The only illusion is you seem to think Trump is the only one that can be untrustworthy in anything. Just because one thing may be wrong, doesn't imply the opposite is right. Neither corporations, any branch or agency of government, nor political party is intrinsically worthy of the trust of anyone's persona and should be continually scrutinized. It's the position you take if you've been paying any attention since before 2016.
  • Man, you are gonna be crying soy on election night 2020 worse than 2016.
  • Typical lefty BS comment.
    Next time, get off your lazy a ss and vote instead of staying at home pulling cones, all the while whinging and complaining about a person who won a democratic election.
  • He technically won by gerrymandering though, so I wouldn't call that democratic.
  • No. Just no. Gerrymandering affects the outcome of state district elections. It would only have an effect in the presidential election for those states that apportion electors by they districts they won. Neither of those states, Maine or Nebraska, were contested in any way, or under accusation of gerrymandering. This is Donald Trump. You are implying he would have had the foresight to work with state officials, who control district boundaries, way back in 2011,12,13,14, to create gerrymandered districts in Maine and Nebraska, to put him over the top. Just. No.
  • Right, so your saying he cheated to win the election.
    Just more sad sack woe is me, it's not fair lefty BS.
    Refer to my above comment for the next election.
  • The feds should also be investigating what ABC-G does with all that data they are siphoning up. Sadly, the feds may be in bed with them on that one.
  • Why is it sad? Microsoft was held accountable by the DOJ. What should Microsoft be the only large company investigated?
  • Because all the scroogle fanboys think google is "cool" and open source and can do no wrong. There is no doubt they have abused their market position, it is just time they are held accountable.
  • The subtitle was sarcastic :P it's not sad at all.
  • I was replying to another commenter, not the title of the article.
  • This is very hypocritical as the US as a country practices this on a daily basis. With their bully attitude overpower other countries so they will remain poor and unable to compete, because they know they would lose if the playing field was leveled. They put up a show in the US, but outside they take off their masks and show the true monsters that they are.
  • Say what now?
  • I think they're confused about Huawei and Google. Nevermind the EU has been putting the anti-competitive hammer to Google for a few years now.
  • About time, $croogle needs to be knocked down for abuse of market position.
  • Ah, no wonder Edge Dev started working with modern Youtube again
  • finally ... maybe they'll make it right
  • Will be interesting to see what happens given the current state of the current administration.