DOJ reportedly probes Google Maps, adding to antitrust concerns

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CEO of Alphabet and Google Sundar Pichai in Warsaw, Poland on March 29, 2022.

Mateusz Wlodarczyk | Nurphoto | Getty Images

The Department of Justice has renewed its focus on Google Maps, adding to its already-sprawling antitrust investigation into the company, Politico and Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

The DOJ is homing in on whether Google illegally bundles its mapping and search products by making app developers use them together, the outlets reported, citing unnamed sources. Politico also reported that the DOJ is looking into how Google packages its maps, app store and voice assistant for automakers through Google Automotive Services.

Reuters reported in March that the department was looking into Google Maps bundling. But the probe has appeared to pick up speed, as Politico and Bloomberg reported the DOJ has been re-interviewing potential witnesses, including competitors and customers, in recent weeks.

A lawsuit could come as soon as this year, Politico reported, though sources told the outlet no decision has been made on whether to file a case.

DOJ has already filed two antitrust lawsuits against Google: One in 2020 targeting Google’s distribution of its search product, and one last month focused on its online advertising business.

Google also faces several lawsuits from coalitions of state attorneys general, focused on issues similar to those in the DOJ cases as well as the Google Play mobile app store.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said developers are “free to use other mapping services in addition to Google Maps Platform — and many do.”

The spokesperson said Google faces “enormous competition in the connected car space” and automakers who use Google’s Android Automotive OS aren’t required to also use its automotive services.

“We always cooperate with regulators and are glad to answer any questions they may have about our business,” the spokesperson said.

A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment.

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