The Department of Justice and US State Attorneys General have been preparing antitrust investigations into Google, but now we're hearing that the States are pushing to break up its ad business.
This report comes out of CNBC, which is citing those familiar with the situation.
The lawsuit could be filed within the next few months
All fifty Attorneys General and the Justice Department have been probing Google's business practices for months. And they are looking to file a lawsuit against Google in the coming months.
However, they have not yet determined if they want to combine their expected suits. But the Attorneys General and the Justice Department have been collaborating closely. They have been investigating the company's search, ad technology and Android business.
The report also states that the Attorneys General investigating Google, have not yet definitively ruled out pushing for alternatives. Instead of outright breaking up its ad business, it could look to impose restrictions on how it runs the business. It is possible that the suite could push for that and breaking up the ad tech business.
Breaking up Google's ad business would be difficult
For Google, it's going to be tough to push for a break up of its ad business. This is according to a few different lawyers who say that it is because the ad business is not a stand-alone unit. And then its two main deals that made it as big as it is today – DoubleClick in 2007 and AdMob in 2009 – were over a decade ago.
Stephen Houck, one of the government lawyers in the Microsoft case almost two decades ago stated that "courts are very concerned that by ripping a company apart, it hurts consumers and make it worse for people that don't have the expertise to do that."
Breaking up its ad business would be notable. Regulatory enforcement agencies hav been favoring "structural remedies" recently, regulators have less onerous solutions available, including barring certain behaviors through a consent decree.
After the Attorneys General file their suit, they will have a number of tools that they can then use. Which can be used to signal their intent to push for a breakup of Google's ad business.
This is going to become a much bigger deal for Google than just a slap on the wrist, that the European Union gives them (seemingly) every year. And it's more than just paying a billion-dollar fine. This could drastically change Google as we know it today.