Alphabet’s YouTube division is the subject of calls from tech groups asking the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to investigate its market monopoly.

A group of tech groups have written an open letter to the DoJ, calling on them to investigate YouTube, saying the video-streaming platform could enable Google and its parent company, Alphabet, to dominate home entertainment.

It comes as Alphabet’s Google is already facing multiple investigations in multiple locations, including the US and Europe.

Open letter

Now in the open letter to the DoJ’s antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter, critics of Google have urged the DoJ to probe YouTube.

The letter was penned by groups including Accountable Tech; American Economic Liberties Project; Blue Future; Demand Progress Education Fund; Institute for Local Self-Reliance; Main Street Alliance; NextGen Competition; Other 98%; Progress America; Social Security Works; and Tech Oversight Project.

“Google parent company Alphabet’s recent quarterly earnings report reinforces that YouTube’s dominance in the marketplace is growing rapidly and that it is increasingly a bedrock of Google’s monopoly position,” the letter began.

The letter warned about YouTube’s growth as a competitor to cable and streaming services and its pre-installation on smartphones and TVs sold in the United States.

The letter pointed out that YouTube TV is the fourth largest paid TV service in the US, and analysts expect the service to take the top spot in 2026.

“As you work to rein in Google’s search and adtech abuses, we encourage you to also train your investigative lens on YouTube, the third leg of the stool that supports Google’s monopoly,” the letter states.

“YouTube’s anti-competitive behaviour has drawn ire from regulators in the European Union, and as it grows into an ever-more dominant behemoth, we urge the DoJ to similarly scrutinise YouTube’s detrimental impact on competition,” the letter said.

“Now that the DoJ’s suit against Apple has been filed after years of anticipation, we hope that the Antitrust Division can turn its focus next to YouTube, before its anti-competitive conduct causes truly irreversible consequences in the marketplace.”

2006 start

The letter pointed out that when Google acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion, it eliminated a direct competitor to its own Google Video service, which had been launched a month prior to YouTube’s own launch in 2005.

The letter said that Google’s CEO at the time “represented that Google Video would exist alongside YouTube. Instead, Google Video became a video search intermediary, stopped uploading new video content in 2009, and was ultimately discontinued in 2012.”

“In the over decade since, YouTube has grown into one of Google’s core business lines, reinforcing Google’s adtech monopoly and generating over $8 billion in quarterly revenue, roughly 10 percent of parent company Alphabet’s overall revenue,” the letter stated.

In April, Alphabet reported YouTube quarterly ad revenue of more than $8 billion, which was up 21 percent from the same period a year ago.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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