Escalating its inquiry into Google’s search business, federal regulators have hired a prominent litigator to pursue the antitrust investigation. The move sends “a strong signal that they are prepared to take the Internet giant to court,” according to The New York Times. “The case has the potential to be the biggest showdown between regulators and Silicon Valley since the government took on Microsoft 14 years ago.”
The big question is whether Google manipulates or has ever manipulated its search results, thus making it less likely that competing companies or products appear at the top of a results page. According to Federal Trade Commission officials, a decision has yet to be made about whether to bring a formal case against Google.
“But the hiring of Beth A. Wilkinson, a former Justice Department prosecutor who played a lead role in the conviction of the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, immediately catapulted the investigation to another level,” NYT writes. “The agency has hired outside litigators only twice in the last decade.”