WASHINGTON (PM) — A comprehensive group of states led by Texas announced an investigation of Google’s market power and whether it unreasonably suppresses competition and harms consumers.
The announcement arrives just days after a separate group of states published an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance.
The probe by the bipartisan group of attorneys general from nearly every state increases the antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies beyond sweeping federal and congressional investigations and enforcement action by European regulators.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and manages so many facets of the internet that it’s reasonably impracticable to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services.
Attorneys general for 50 U.S. states and territories on Monday officially announced an antitrust investigation of Google, beginning a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans maintained may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web.
Appearing on the steps of the Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton charged that Google “dominates all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet,” though he advised that despite his criticism the states had launched an investigation for now and not a suit.
Paxton said the probe’s initial focus will be online advertising, a market in which Google is a leader, raking in more than $48 billion this year, according to eMarketer. “They dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side and the video side with YouTube,” he stated during a news conference alongside officials from 11 states and the District of Columbia.