Google faces court as FTC hires top lawyer
Google faces increased likelihood of antitrust court action in the US after the Federal Trade Commission hired a well-known litigator.
In a case that’s being touted as the biggest showdown between US officials and a tech company in more than a decade, Google faces questions over its behaviour in the search and online advertising markets that it dominates.
In a report in The New York Times, experts said the hiring of former top Justice Department prosecutor Beth Wilkinson pushed the case up a notch, with the appointment signalling a potential plan to proceed to court.
“It’s a watershed moment when you hire someone like this,” David Wales, a former Federal Trade Commission official told the paper. “This shows Google that if it doesn’t give you the remedy you want, you’re going to litigate.”
Although the FTC cautioned against reading too much into the appointment, antitrust experts likened the high-profile signing to the way the US hired top lawyer David Boies in the infamous case against Microsoft more than 14 years ago.
“It increases the likelihood that there will be a case,” Douglas Broder, a law partner at K&L Gates in New York, told the Times.
Google, which is also under scrutiny from European competition officials, has so far declined to comment.