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The DoJ is investigating Google's search dominance, DuckDuckGo CEO suggests

Google may be forced to offer alternative search engines on Android.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
June 5, 2020
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 19: The Google offices in NYC are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 19, 2020 in New York City. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 323,000 lives with infections of over 4.9 million people. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Ben Gabbe via Getty Images

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and state regulators may be investigating Google’s search engine dominance, according to Bloomberg. In an interview, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg said that officials asked him questions about the idea of forcing rival Google to give users search alternatives both on Android and in Chrome.

State and federal investigators have been probing Google’s Android dominance, digital advertising and other issues, but since charges have yet to be filed, few details are known. Weinberg’s statement, however, reveal that the US may try to boost competition in search, by far Google’s largest business. As it stands, the company owns around 93 percent of the search market with revenue around $100 billion, while rivals are left to pick up the relative crumbs.

In 2018, the European Union fined Google a record $5 billion for antitrust violations. It also forced Google to provide Android users with a choice of browser and search engine, among other measures. Google hasn’t been forced to take similar actions in its home market, but Weinberg’s comments suggest the US may be pondering similar actions.

Neither Google nor investigators have confirmed the comments, while state and federal antitrust charges against the company have yet to materialize as expected. With COVID-19 lockdown measures slowly being eased in the US, however, the case could start to gather momentum once again.

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