US Justice Department going ‘full tilt’ on platform antitrust probe

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The US Justice Department is moving “full-tilt” on its antitrust investigation of Google and other Big Tech platforms, the department’s second-ranking official told journalists.

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told Reuters in an interview this week in the department’s headquarters that he could not commit to a specific date by which the department would decide whether to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Google.

“We are going full-tilt. It’s a major priority,” Rosen said. “We have a great team working really hard to get on top of the documents, hearing from people in the industry and the like.”

Mr Rosen said the probe isn’t being driven by political factors. He said the goal is to act “as soon as possible” based on a review of the merits.

“This is one of those issues that people from lots of different points of view are very concerned about,” he added.

“I can’t tell you today what the date will be.”

Numerous media outlets have reported the Justice Department is likely to file an antitrust complaint against Google. Attorney General William Barr told The Wall Street Journal in March he wanted the Justice Department to make a final decision on the Google probe this summer.

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Google spokeswoman Julie Tarallo McAlister said “while we continue to engage with ongoing investigations, our focus is firmly on providing free services that help people every day, lower costs for small businesses, and enable increased choice and competition.”

State attorneys general have different probes of Google, and the US House Judiciary Committee has ongoing investigations of Google, Amazon.com Inc , Facebook Inc and Apple Inc . Many states are likely to join a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google, we reported in June.

The Justice Department said in July 2019 it was opening a wide investigation of major platform businesses on if they engage in anti-competitive practices.

Mr Rosen declined to say how fast the authorities might resolve other tech probes, but noted there’s been”some division of labour” with the Federal Trade Commission

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Dan Grebler.

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