Shot Across Google's Bow

The U.S. Justice Department is expected to fire its opening salvo at Google this week, charging the company with anti-trust violations related to its search practices.

The charges: It's not yet clear what the case will focus on, but we have some hints... 
  • Congressional Democrats released a report last week claiming Google has a monopoly in search and uses its market dominance to crush competitors.
  • Republicans have accused Google of political bias in its search results. 
Pitfalls: But anti-trust regulators face some pitfalls in this case...
  • Anti-trust cases typically must now show that consumers are harmed by the targets practices, which can be difficult with tech companies that offer a free service.
  • Reports last month quoted lawyers expressing concern that the Attorney General was rushing the case.
  • The outcome of the election could impact the trajectory of the case, and a new Biden-led Justice Department could change course. 
Zoom out: After years of inaction, U.S. lawmakers are rushing to regulate tech companies, which no longer enjoy public acclaim. But in spite of much furor, regulators have yet to score any major wins.