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U.S. states and territories launch antitrust probe into Google’s ‘potential monopolistic behavior’

11 September 2019

Attorneys general from 50 US states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, have announced a probe against Google, seeking to explore whether the search giant violated antitrust laws.

California and Alabama are not part of the investigation, although it does include the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The lead attorney-general said it will focus on Google's overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic.

A group of states in the USA has opened a nationwide investigation into whether Google's advertising practices violate antitrust laws, targeting the heart of the search giant's business.

"When a giant like Google makes 90% of its revenue from utilizing our personal data in its advertising business while undermining consumer choice, stifling innovation, violating our privacy, and controlling the flow and exchange of information, it is essential that we take a closer look", Nessel said.

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One of the AGs compared the situation to a real estate market in which one company owns not just the house you want to buy but all other houses on the block, and is both your agent and the seller's.

Google is already facing an antitrust investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Google expects the state authorities will ask the company about past similar investigations in the US and internationally, senior vice president of global affairs Kent Walker wrote in a blog post Friday.

Google declined to comment, pointing to its previous statements saying it will work with state officials.

On Friday, New York's attorney general announced that Florida had joined seven other states investigating "Facebook's dominance in the industry and the potential anti-competitive conduct stemming from that dominance". "There are serious concerns that Google's current position is the result of anticompetitive business practices rather than the excellence of their product offerings".

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US President Donald Trump has also accused social media firms and Google of suppressing conservative voices online, but has not presented any evidence for his views. Miller said the investigation is in its early stages, so they have not made any conclusions. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Missouri's former state attorney general.

Alphabet's net income was $9.95 billion in the second quarter, according to the Mountain View, California-headquartered company's earnings report, released in July. Multiple attorneys general are also investigating Facebook for. well, everything Facebook does.

Google is accustomed to antitrust probes, after the several past and present investigations and actions against it.

"We are acting as one today, in regards to launching what I know will be a full and fair investigation", he said.

Becerra's lack of participation in the Google investigation drew condemnation from the other side of the political aisle.

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U.S. states and territories launch antitrust probe into Google’s ‘potential monopolistic behavior’