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Mnuchin on Google and tech monopolies: 'You have to look at the power they have'

Sara Salinas
Mnuchin on Google and tech monopolies: 'You have to look at the power they have'

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Monday joined the growing chorus of government officials concerned about tech monopolies.

When asked if Google is a monopoly, Mnuchin said, "These are issues that the Justice Department needs to look at seriously — not for any one company — but obviously as these technology companies have a greater and greater impact on the economy, I think that you have to look at the power they have," Mnuchin told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Mnuchin acknowledged that antitrust matters don't fall under his jurisdiction, but said someone ought to be looking.

His comments come on the heels of a "60 Minutes" segment on Google 's unparalleled market share in online search. The Sunday night spot included an interview with Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder of Yelp, which he said "would have no shot" if it were being built today.

"That opportunity has been closed off by Google and their approach," Stoppelman told "60 Minutes." "If you provide great content in one of these categories that is lucrative to Google, and seen as potentially threatening, they will snuff you out ... They will make you disappear. They will bury you."

Google has long been criticized for ranking its own shopping pages and reviews ahead of competitors in search results. Last year the search engine was fined $2.7 billion by EU regulators for adjusting the search algorithm to its own benefit.

"Just as well as I admire some of the innovation by Google over the last decade — well, I want their illegal behavior to stop," EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in the CBS segment. "It's very difficult to find the rivals. Because on average, you'd find them only on page four in your search results."

"Then you don't find them. I don't know anyone who goes to page four in their search result," she said. "Jokingly, you could say that this is where you should keep your secrets. Because no one ever comes there."