Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joins Google anti-trust investigation

Daniel Fowler
September 10, 2019

On Friday, New York's attorney general announced that Florida had joined seven other states investigating "Facebook's dominance in the industry and the potential anti-competitive conduct stemming from that dominance". "When most Americans think of the internet, they no doubt think of Google", said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the multistate coalition.

Other attorneys' general are also concerned over how Google "processes and ranks search results to the extent to which it may not fully protect users' personal information".

The investigation is the latest sign of the rapidly expanding antitrust investigations confronting Google along with other giant US technology companies. "We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook's actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers' choices or increased the price of advertising".

Google's parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and controls so many facets of the internet that it's fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. The only two states absent from the joint investigation are California and Alabama, according to Paxton. There are almost 800 attorneys just in the attorney general's office in the state of Texas.

"When a company becomes a verb, it may seem as though the states are David taking on Goliath but I am proud to stand tall with my fellow attorneys general", Rutledge reportedly said. So I'm very confident that this bipartisan group is going to be led by the facts and not be swayed by any conclusion that may fall short, if you will, if it's inconsistent with our facts, on the federal side.

"What we've all learned is that while many consumers believe that the Internet is free, certainly we know from Google's profits of United States dollars 117 billion that the Internet is not free", he said. Epstein has spent more than half a decade monitoring Google's influence.

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The CEO of Basecamp, a small software firm in Chicago, helped set off the newly skeptical questions this week when he blasted Google for its policy of allowing anyone to buy ads related to a brand name; if someone searches Google for "Basecamp", they might first see an ad for the company's rivals. States on Monday formally requested documents from Google on its advertising business, Paxton said. But the sheer number participating in this kind of antitrust effort is unprecedented and gives it more weight, said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican.

The legal authorities investigating the company on Monday focused on its dominance in advertising and in search.

"The Justice Department's antitrust division, under Makan Delrahim, unveiled its own plans in July to probe whether major social media, search and e-commerce companies have grown too dominant", Politico reported.

Google responded to the investigation in a blog post written by Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs.

"Google, as well as the other Big Tech companies, are highly politically unpopular now".

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