The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is considering a plan that could force tech giant Google to split up or sell parts of its business, including its popular Chrome browser.
According to Politico, the DoJ is planning to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine firm for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online search market. The suit could be filed as soon as the week commencing 12 October.
Shareholders at Google’s parent group, Alphabet, had already urged the firm to split itself into small companies last year before regulators forced its hand, however, the company rejected the proposal.
Google is facing multiple investigations in the US for alleged antitrust violations and is also accused of using its own search engine to advertise its own mapping, shopping, and other services, instead of displaying competitors’ services.
The DoJ and state attorney generals are seeking an opinion from competitors and other third parties on which businesses Google should be asked to sell, and whether existing rivals should be banned from bidding on them.
Google Chrome is one of the world’s most popular internet browsers, used on nearly 60 per cent of desktop computers and 37 per cent of mobile devices in the US.
The company’s competitors have long accused Google of using the user’s search and web histories to further its advertising business. Google said in January this year that it aims to stop using third party cookies in Chrome by 2022.
The DoJ lawsuit comes after the US House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee released findings from its 16-month-long investigation into the challenges posed by tech giants to the digital economy.
The findings revealed that big tech firms, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are effectively monopolies, which need to be broken up to restore competition and improve innovation in the industry, and that the firms are abusing their tremendous power to control markets.
It recommended policy changes to change the way that tech firms operate, and introduced antitrust rules to block attempts by companies to buy startups.
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