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US DoJ Probes Google’s Advertising Business

The US Department of Justice has launched a probe into Google’s online advertising business after complaints from numerous advertisers.

The DoJ wants to investigate how Google runs its multi-billion dollar advertising business and whether it uses anti-competitive means to undermine competition.

The regulator could impose a fine of up to $500 million on Google. The company is facing a similar probe in the European Union over anti-trust charges. The EU wants to investigate whether Google manipulates its search engine to promote its own products over competition and whether the company has altered its advertising platform to increase the prices.

The potential amount of the fine that Google expects to be imposed on it was revealed in a filing made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

“In May 2011, in connection with a potential resolution of an investigation by the United States department of justice into the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers, we accrued $500m for the three month period ended March 31, 2011,” the company said in the filing.

“Although we cannot predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, we believe it will not have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows,” Google assured.