Google may soon face allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the United States similar to the way Microsoft was examined in the 1990s. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly considering a "broad antitrust investigation" of Google, according to Bloomberg. Accusations of monopolistic practices have been lobbed at Google for several years, but now they are reaching a fever pitch following the European Commission's launch of an antitrust investigation of Google in November. Microsoft recently announced it would join the antitrust complaint against Google in Europe.
Antitrust concerns have also been raised over the search giant's plans for expanding Google Books and the company's intent to purchase ITA, a flight data aggregation company. The FTC is reportedly waiting on the Department of Justice to consider possible antitrust implications from Google's ITA deal before launching a broader investigation. The DOJ in January was said to be preparing to file an antitrust challenge against Google, but that threat has yet to materialize.
Google owns about 66 percent of the U.S. search market, according to the latest numbers from comScore. But Google has moved beyond search to become a dominant player in mobile phones with the Android operating system. The company is also hoping to create the largest digitized library of the world's books that is completely searchable with Google Books. Google is working on a music retail service to compete with Apple's iTunes, and a recent report by the Guardian said Google's YouTube is hoping to become "the home of live sports broadcasting online" for major North American sports leagues, such as the NBA and NHL.
Add to all that the massive amounts of user data Google has on its servers, and it's no surprise that regulators want to consider reining in the company.