Published: Wed, September 11, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Google: 50 U.S. states and territories launch competition probe

Google: 50 U.S. states and territories launch competition probe

The attorney general's comments come after all 50 US states and territories, led by Texas, announced an investigation into Google's "potential monopolistic behavior".

The leader of the initiative is Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, who made the announcement to the media on Monday alongside a number of other state attorneys general and investigators.

A group of 50 U.S. states have announced an investigation against Google's "potential monopolistic behaviour" and the Internet giant's dominance of the online advertising market.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is joining 47 other states on a wide-ranging investigation into potential antitrust violations at Google. 'Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privacy information?

"We have answered many questions on these issues over many years, in the United States as well as overseas, across many aspects of our business, so this is not new for us", Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs for Google, wrote in a recent blog post.

Several state attorneys general also plan to announce their Google antitrust probe Monday, with approximately three dozen state attorneys general.

Over the past decade, Google has been one of the biggest political donors in Washington, but this time around, the political environment is much less favorable to Google. As large as these fines are, I doubt they will cause Google to adopt more pro-competitive practices. Google disclosed on Friday that the department had issued civil investigative demands, which are akin to subpoenas, for all documents in prior antitrust probes.

Tesla driver appears to be sleeping at the wheel on Massachusetts Turnpike
The report caused a lot of handwringing and suggested Tesla should be more aggressive about monitoring drivers and possible jerking them awake by braking sharply.

The latest probes come on top of a review launched earlier this year by federal regulators of major online platforms to determine if they have "stifled" innovation or reduced competition.

Nothing has been said yet about the remedies that could be applied if the investigation finds that Google did violate antitrust laws.

The developments create fresh problems for Facebook and Google after a wave of criticism by politicians from both parties over their market dominance.

The two "dissenters" are also bipartisan. Yelp Inc., which has long complained about the search company's practices, said biased search results that steer users to Google's own products harm consumers.

According to Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, the Internet is the superhighway of information.

"California remains deeply concerned and committed to fighting anticompetitive behaviour", a representative of the California Attorney General's Office said in an emailed statement. And many smaller advertisers have argued that Google has such a stranglehold on the market that it becomes a system of whatever Google says, goes - because the alternative could be not reaching customers.

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