In short: The Department of Justice is presently pondering opening an antitrust probe of Google over the company's practices related to its Android operating system, the agency's competition chief Makan Delrahim told Senators on Wednesday, sources claim. While details on the matter remain unclear, the investigation would presumably center around Google's insistence on bundling its apps with all Android implementations with access to the Google Play Store, by far the most popular app marketplace on the planet.
Background: This summer, The European Commission hit Google with the largest fine it ever issued over anti-competitive behavior, ordering the company to pay in excess of $5 billion over its antitrust practices that violated the political block's laws. While the effectiveness of the fine is highly debatable and Google only started the appellate process that's likely to take close to a decade to run its course, the development still signaled the European Union is taking a harder stance against anything it deems monopolistic behavior in the technology industry. And even as President Trump criticized the EU over the ruling, calling Google "one of our great companies" this July, a leaked draft order from the White House suggested the head of the state is himself considering demanding an antitrust investigation into Google only two months later.
Impact: Mr. Delrahim's latest comments suggest Google has another item to add to its growing list of stateside concerns, with the company already fending off allegations of Search bias beneficial to liberal worldviews and facing heavy scrutiny over foreign election interference efforts abusing its online platforms. Should an antitrust investigation into Google be started in its home country only months after the company received yet another EU fine for anti-competitive behavior, more similar probes may follow in other parts of the world as well. None of that will spell good news for the technology juggernaut's bottom line that has been breaking records in recent years.