Google's Antitrust Probe 'Could Be on Par' With Microsoft's

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Here's another problem for Google's new CEO: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is mulling a broad antitrust investigation into the company's search market dominance, reports Bloomberg. The scale of the investigation "could be on par" with Microsoft's lengthy antitrust battle with the Justice Department, says Keith Hylton, an antitrust lawyer at Boston University School of Law. The decision to proceed depends on whether the FTC or the Department of Justice will take the lead on investigating Google. Apparently, that decision will be made after the DoJ decides if it will challenge Google's acquisition of the airline ticketing company ITA Software--though the Bloomberg article doesn't specify how that decision will affect which agency takes the lead.

Google is really getting pressed on all sides these days. In the fall, the E.U. launched an antitrust investigation into Google's dominance of the advertising market which is still going on. And just last week, Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint with the EU over its unwillingness to share its technology with competitors.

Comparing Google's antitrust woes with Microsoft's a decade ago doesn't present the sunniest forecast. After all, the Microsoft's decline happened in lockstep with its mounting legal challenges. Nevertheless, United States v. Microsoft never drew much blood from the company aside from legal fees.

Not everyone sees it that way, though: "An antitrust lawsuit of such a scope is likely to drag on for years," writes Christian Zibreg at 9 to 5 Mac. "It could cost Google dearly in the end in case of an unfavorable ruling because a substantial portion of the company’s revenue is created from adverts injected in search results."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.