Google seeks recusal probe for incoming antitrust chief over Yelp and Microsoft cases


Google sent a letter to the Department of Justice Friday requesting that the department examine whether newly confirmed antitrust division head Jonathan Kanter, who has been a vocal critic of the search giant, should be recused from federal antitrust investigations into Google. In his new role, Kanter will lead the department’s lawsuit against Google alleging it has a monopoly in the search and advertising markets.

Kanter has represented a number of companies in motions against Google, which the search giant argues should disqualify him. Most notably, Kanter represented Microsoft in a motion arguing against Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, which was eventually approved by regulators and was closed in 2008.

“Mr. Kanter’s past statements and work representing competitors who have advocated for the cases brought by the Department raise serious concerns about his ability to be impartial,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. You can read Google’s full letter to the DOJ at the bottom of this article.

Kanter is the latest in a string of prominent antitrust appointments from the Biden administration, which also include Lina Khan’s confirmation as the chair of the Federal Trade Commission and Tim Wu’s role working on technology and competition policy at the National Economic Council. Notably, Amazon and Facebook sought to force Lina Khan to recuse herself from their cases on similar grounds, although, so far, the efforts have had little result.

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