On September 9, 2019, attorney generals from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced an antitrust investigation of Google centred on whether the company has harmed competition and consumers in its search, advertising and other businesses. Notably, California – where Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. is headquartered – and Alabama are not participating in the probe.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stated that the investigation will begin with a probe into Google’s advertising and search dominance, but may expand into other practices of the tech giant.
In response to the news of the investigation, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs Kent Walker wrote in a blog post that Google has “always worked constructively with regulators” and “will continue to do so.”
A spokesperson for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that the state is committed to fighting anti-competitive behavior, but “to protect the integrity of our work, we can’t comment – to confirm or deny any pending or potential investigation.” The Alabama attorney general has not commented on why the state elected not to join the investigation.
The investigation started with a compulsory request for information by way of a civil investigative demand sent to Google; details as to what was contained in the request has not been released to the public.
The Google antitrust probe follows up news of an antitrust investigation of Facebook Inc. commenced by eight states and the District of Columbia earlier this month, and continues a trend of increased scrutiny by federal regulators and US Congress into tech conglomerates’ business practices.
Summary By: Hashim Ghazi
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