Monday, 23 September, 2019


U.S. tech giants Google, Facebook to face another phase of antitrust probes

South Dakota joining nationwide investigation of Google Google is the target of a new antitrust investigation by 50 attorneys general [Update: Google statement]
Conrad Doyle | 11 September, 2019, 14:34

Miller is among 50 attorneys general investigating Google's business practices to determine if the tech giant violated state and federal antitrust laws. California and Alabama are not involved in the probe, said Texas AG Ken Paxton at Monday's press conference; Google's dominance in the ad market and use of consumer data was also emphasized.

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

The investigation by the Attorneys General will be the first of its kind to address fully the source of Google's sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power.

Fifty states and territories attorneys general announced on Monday that they've launched an antitrust investigation against Google.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge reportedly called Google's search engine a "juggernaut" and argued that a free search sometimes came at the cost of the freedom to choose the best products from the best companies. But Karl Racine, the Democratic attorney general for Washington, D.C., and a participant in both the Facebook and Google probes, said he and his peers wouldn't hesitate to forge ahead if Washington once again opts against taking action against the tech giants.

"On the one hand, you could just say, 'well Google is dominant because they're good, '" said Jen King, the director of privacy at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. Investigators want to know more about those policies, why Google instituted them and whether customers ever complain about them. If the federal or state probes find evidence of anti-competitive behavior in Google's practices then the company would be compelled to make its algorithms friendlier to rival companies even if it is detrimental to its bottom line.

A separate group of states announced an investigation into Facebook's dominance on Friday. Florida attorney general Ashley Moody was also at the announcement.

Shares of Google parent Alphabet fell as much as 1% following the announcement and were down less than 1% to $1,202.42 at 3:40 p.m.in NY.

The Justice Department is also investigating Google for antitrust issues.

Past investigations of the tech titan in the USA and Europe did not "fully address the source of Google's sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power", according to Paxton.

"California remains deeply concerned and committed to fighting anticompetitive behaviour", a representative of the California Attorney General's Office said in an emailed statement.

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