The people warned that Attorney General William Barr, who was not attending the meeting, still does not have to make a final decision on whether to sue, a verdict he could make in the coming weeks. The department would also have to decide what remedy to look for, e.g. For example, trying to break up the company or restrict its behavior. It is not yet clear whether the attorneys general would also join the DOJ complaint.
The prosecutors are still discussing whether other aspects of Google’s search behavior should be taken into account.
A DOJ spokesman declined to comment.
“As we continue to conduct ongoing investigations, our focus is on developing free products that reduce small business costs and help Americans every day,” said Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister.
The department has shown signs in recent months that litigation has been seriously pursued based on the antitrust investigation launched a year ago. The DOJ and the states have recently consulted economists separately to help with a potential lawsuit and, if necessary, testify in court, according to three people who are familiar with the probes. The DOJ was also looking for a lawyer to help with his case, they said.
The lawsuit would be the agency’s first major monopoly case against a large US company in decades. In the late 1990s, the DOJ sued Microsoft for the so-called company Efforts to use the Windows operating system to suppress the Netscape Internet browser. The DOJ and the states won in court, a decision that has been largely confirmed in the appeal process, but Microsoft later reached an agreement with the government.
Europe’s main competition authority has filed three cases against Google and fined a total of around $ 9 billion for the behavior of the search giant. Google has appealed in all three cases. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission previously investigated Google for allegations that it distorted search results in favor of its own products. The agency closed the investigation in 2013 without taking any action after Google agreed to “voluntary commitments” to change some of its practices.