Google Parent Alphabet Says Received US DOJ Demand Over Antitrust Records

Alphabet said on Friday it had received a civil investigative demand from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on August 30 seeking information and documents relating to its prior antitrust investigations in the United States and elsewhere.

“We expect to receive in the future similar investigative demands from state attorneys general,” Alphabet said in a regulatory filing.

The company said it would continue to cooperate with the DOJ, federal and US state regulators, and other regulators around the world. The Google parent said it welcomes government oversight to make sure companies comply with the law. The company said it has already responded to many government agencies around the world on how it conducts its businesses and expects state attorneys general to ask similar questions.

“We look forward to showing how we are investing in innovation, providing services that people want, and engaging in robust and fair competition,” Kent Walker, a senior vice president for global affairs, said in a blog post.

Big Tech won’t be an easy target. Current interpretations of US law against monopolies don’t obviously apply to companies offering inexpensive goods or free online services.

Traditional antitrust law focuses on dominant businesses that harm consumers, typically through practices that raise prices for consumers. But many tech companies offer free products that are paid for by a largely invisible trade in the personal data gleaned from those services. Others like Amazon offer consistently low prices on a wide array of merchandise.

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