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U.S. Is Said Close to Bringing Antitrust Case Against Google

The U.S. Justice Department plans to bring antitrust charges against tech, advertising and search giant Alphabet, GOOGL possibly this month, a media report says.

People briefed on internal agency conversations told The New York Times that Attorney General William Barr wants to bring the case quickly.

He overruled career lawyers at the Justice Department who wanted more time to build a case against Alphabet, which runs Google and YouTube, the Times reported.

The legal team working on the complaint against Google disagreed about how broad the probe should be and on the steps Google might take to resolve the government’s issues with the Mountain View, Calif., company, the paper reported.

A senior department official told the Times that Barr felt that the agency was moving too slowly with its investigation and that setting a deadline was not unreasonable. The justice agency opened its inquiry into Alphabet in June 2019.

The Times reported that bringing the case against Google could give President Donald Trump and Barr an election-season achievement on what is considered a bipartisan problem.

That problem is how much the biggest tech companies influence consumers and the prospect that their business practices have crushed competitors and impaired the legacy telecom and media industries.

A spokesman for Google told the Times that the company would “continue to engage with ongoing investigations” and that its business practices enable “increased choice and competition.”

Google, the Times reported, controls about 90% of web searches internationally. And it takes in about a third of every dollar spent on online ads.