State attorneys general representing 50 U.S. states and territories officially announced that they have opened an antitrust investigation into Google Monday. The investigation will initially focus on Google’s search and advertising business, but may widen in scope as it unfolds.
“It doesn’t take a search engine to understand that unchecked corporate power shouldn’t eclipse consumers’ rights,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James in a statement. “That is why New York has joined this bipartisan investigation of Google to determine whether the company has achieved or maintained its dominance through anticompetitive conduct.”
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Asked for comment, a Google spokesperson referred to a statement posted this past Friday, which reads in part:
“We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so. We look forward to showing how we are investing in innovation, providing services that people want, and engaging in robust and fair competition.”
The investigation appears to be preliminary, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton telling reporters that the group had begun to send requests for information to the company. The only two states absent from the joint investigation are California and Alabama, according to Paxton.
The state attorneys general made the announcement on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where they stressed the bipartisan nature of the investigation.
News of the impending announcement was first reported by the Washington Post last week. The announcement came just days after a smaller coalition of nine state attorneys general revealed that they were investigating Facebook.
The two announcements were just the latest in a long string of investigations targeting big tech companies. Some of these investigations have resulted in significant fines, including a $5 billion settlement Facebook entered with the FTC in July. That settlement also came with new oversight requirements, but proposals to break up these companies seem unlikely to gain traction with regulators.