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Report: Justice Department to Sue Alphabet's Google on Antitrust Grounds

By Eric Volkman – Sep 3, 2020 at 10:28PM

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A sure-to-be-contentious lawsuit could be filed as soon as this month.

Alphabet's (GOOG 4.42%) (GOOGL 4.61%) Google will soon be the target of an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. That's according to an article published Thursday in The New York Times, citing "five people briefed on internal department conversations."

The report comes several months after rumors circulated about such an action. In May, it was reported that Justice would pull its trigger as soon as this summer.

According to the Times' sources, that suit could be filed before the end of September since the lawyers currently working on the antitrust inquiry into the company were asked to complete their work by the end of this month. Most of those lawyers, numbering about 40 individuals, objected to that request on the grounds that more time was needed to build a solid case against the tech giant, and some left the case over the summer, the sources said.

A judge banging a gavel.

Image source: Getty Images.

The Alphabet/Google case is apparently of great interest to William Barr, the controversial Attorney General. The article's sources say he has asked for regular briefings on it and contributed notes and ideas to the work of the lawyers.

In collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Justice launched its antitrust investigation into Alphabet/Google in June 2019. That followed years of allegations both from within the tech world and outside it that the company was abusing its dominant market position. According to the Times, Google currently has a market share of roughly 90% of all web searches conducted globally.

Justice has not formally reacted to the Times story, nor has Alphabet/Google.

On Thursday, both classes of Alphabet's stock fell by around 5%, a deeper fall than that recorded by the S&P 500 index on the day.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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