An antitrust review of Google’s business practices has been a long time coming, and it looks like the U.S. Justice Department is going to make moves on that front very shortly. But there’s growing concern that the case against the search giant will amount to nothing but a political maneuver. Adding to Google’s headaches, it’s now reportedly in the crosshairs of China’s regulators as the tech trade war spills out to enlist more soldiers.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that China could soon launch an antitrust probe into Google that would focus on whether its business practices surrounding the Android mobile operating system are actively stifling competition. Citing sources speaking on the condition of anonymity, Reuters claims that regulators in China were prompted to consider the case by the embattled Chinese telecom firm Huawei. The proposal has reportedly already been submitted to the nation’s top antitrust cops for review.
Huawei has been the focus of aggressive maneuvers by U.S. officials who claim, without offering evidence, that the company’s equipment represents a national security threat because it could be used by China’s government for the purposes of spying. Huawei has denied that it operates differently than any other big tech firm, but that didn’t stop the Trump administration from issuing an order blocking U.S.-based entities from doing business with the company in 2019. And while Google obtained a temporary license to continue working with Huawei, that authorization expired in August.
Since the ban was implemented, Huawei has blamed the blacklist for billions in missed earnings, and it’s made efforts to replace Google’s products with its own in-house offerings. According to Reuters, China is now looking to the examples set by regulators in Europe who have successfully taken on Google’s competitive practices in the past.