KEY POINTS

  • The Justice Department is expected to file an antitrust suit against Google in Washington
  • The European Union has fined Google more than $8 billion
  • About a dozen states are conducting their own investigations

Updated 11:15 a.m. EDT

The Justice Department suit accuses Google of "unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets."

“Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives.  Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people,” Attorney General William Barr said in a press release.

Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas joined the Justice Department action.

Original story:

Google, which has been fighting off antitrust complaints in Europe, faced similar action at home Tuesday as the Justice Department prepared to file suit in Washington.

The tech giant -- along with Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Twitter -- has faced mounting criticism for its dominance of the internet. Attorney General William Barr pushed investigators to conclude their inquiry and file the action before Election Day.

“It’s the most newsworthy monopolization action brought by the government since the Microsoft case in the late ‘90s,” Bill Baer, a former chief of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, told the New York Times. “It’s significant in that the government believes that a highly successful tech platform has engaged in conduct that maintains its monopoly power unlawfully, and as a result injures consumers and competition.”

The Justice Department action is expected to take years to work its way through the courts. It could result in fines and/or agreement or orders for the company to break up or change its practices.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, owns Nest Labs, which makes smart home products, DoubleClick, an ad manager, Looker, which provides business intelligence software and data analytics, YouTube, an online video-sharing platform, and Waze, a mobile navigation app.

But its Google’s dominance in the search engine sector that has met with the most scrutiny. Apple took billions of dollars from Google in exchange for making it the default search engine in iPhones and iPads. Google also struck agreements phone and tablet manufacturers that use Alphabet’s Android operating system.

Google Search began its rein in 1997 and performs more than 92% of all web searches, compared to 2.83% by Bing and 1.59% by Yahoo!. Google.com is the most visited website with 84.18 billion visits so far this year. By comparison, Microsoft’s Bing search engine is averaging about 1 billion visits per month.

Google is expected to fight off the Justice Department vigorously. During the investigation, the company balked at turning over documents. About a dozen states are conducting their own investigations.

The European Union has fined Google more than $8 billion but lately has opted for developing new ground rules for data-sharing and how digital marketplaces operate rather than pursuing further antitrust actions.

Alphabet stock was up $15.58, or 1.02%, to $1,545.53 at 10:23 a.m. EDT.