Technology

U.S. to Accuse Google of Protecting Illegal Monopoly

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department plans to accuse Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising in a lawsuit to be filed on Tuesday, the government’s most significant legal challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation, according to officials at the agency who were not authorized to speak on the record.

The suit would reflect the pushback against the power of the nation’s largest corporations, and especially technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. Conservatives like President Trump and liberals like Senator Elizabeth Warren have been highly critical of the concentration of power in a handful of tech behemoths.

Attorney General William P. Barr, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, has played an unusually active role in the investigation. He pushed Justice Department lawyers to bring the case by the end of September, prompting pushback from attorneys who wanted more time and complained of political influence. He has spoken publicly about the inquiry for months and set tight deadlines for the prosecutors leading the effort.

A lawsuitmay stretch on for years and could set off a cascade of other antitrust lawsuits from state attorneys general. About four dozen states and jurisdictions have conducted parallel investigations and are expected to bring separate complaints against the company’s grip on technology for online advertising.

Google is expected to fight any government efforts using a global network of lawyers, economists and lobbyists. The company has long argued that does not illegally abuse its market power.

But a victory for the government could remake one of America’s most recognizable companies and the internet economy that it has helped define since it was founded by two Stanford University graduate students in 1998.

Google did not immediately have a comment.

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