Google Could Be Forced To Offload Chrome, DoJ Set To Take Action
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is considering a plan that could see Google forced to offload the world’s most popular browser Chrome.
The move if successful could be a major blow to tens of millions of users with the DoJ set to bring an antitrust suit against the search giant, for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online search market.
According to Politico, the lawsuit could be filed as soon as next week.
Some shareholders at Alphabet the owners of the Google’s parent company – urged directors to split itself into separate companies before regulators could force it to do so.
The board rejected the proposal believing that they can their argument that Google services are interlinked.
The expected lawsuit from the DoJ comes just after the US House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee released the findings of its 16-month-long investigation into the challenges posed by the dominance of tech giants in the digital economy.
The report concluded that big tech firms like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are effectively monopolies, which must be broken up to restore competition and improve innovation in the industry.
The report argues that tech firms are abusing their tremendous power to control access to markets and pick winners and losers.
It recommended several policy measures to radically change the way tech firms operate and urged the House to consider restructuring big tech firms, empowering the agencies responsible for controlling market concentration, and introducing new antitrust rules to block attempts by companies to buy start-ups.
In Australia Google is facing a major battle with publishers and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission who claim that Google must pay publishers for News content.
Google has also been accused of using its search engine to advertise its own mapping, shopping, and other services, rather than displaying competitors’ services.
Politico states that the federal and state prosecutors are seeking suggestions from tech experts, media publishers and industry rivals on measures that can be taken to control Google’s dominance over the $162 billion global digital advertising market.
One such step, reportedly discussed on 9th October, involves forcing Google to divest Chrome and parts of its advertising business.
The DoJ and state attorney generals are seeking opinion from competitors and other third parties on which businesses Google should be asked to sell, and whether existing rivals should be banned from bidding on them.
Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers in the world, used on nearly 60 per cent of desktop computers and 37 per cent of mobiles devices in the US, according to StatCounter.
Rivals have long accused Google of using Chrome’s access to users’ web histories to aid its advertising business. In January, Google said that it would stop using third-party cookies in Chrome within the next two years.