Iowa Joins Antitrust Investigation into Google’s Business Practices

Ruben Fields
September 11, 2019

"Now, more than ever, information is power, and the most important source of information in Americans' day-to-day lives is the internet". As he put it, "They dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side, and the video side with YouTube".

A handful of them announced the probe Monday at a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court. "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".

Utah AG Sean Reyes said the probe was "for the benefit of the tech ecosystem to help level the playing field".

"It is an investigation to determine the facts", Mr Paxton said.

Jeff Landry, a Republican from Louisiana, added: "We're here because there's an absolutely existential threat to our virtual marketplace".

An MPAA spokesman declined comment on the latest investigation, but its chairman, Charles Rivkin, previously has seized on the increased scrutiny of Facebook and Google in calling for greater "platform accountability". Amid rumors of a federal probe, 50 attorneys general have joined forces to launch an antitrust probe of the company.

The investigation, which lacks the participation of California and Alabama, is probing concerns that publishers and advertisers have little choice but to advertise with Google.

The European Commission's competition bureau, which handles antitrust matters for the European Union, has fined Google billions of dollars across three years for antitrust violations.

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The effort will be led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and includes both Democratic and Republican attorneys general.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has talked tough on tech in the past and has established a reputation for taking on powerful figures, filing dozens of suits against the Trump administration. He tweeted last month an accusation by a former employee that the tech giant had suppressed negative stories on Hillary Clinton in Google search results, while boosting negative stories about him.

"The ability to access and gather information is essential in our world, and the internet provides us the tools to gather that information", said Ravnsborg.

According to research firm eMarketer, Google leads the U.S. digital ad market with a 37.2 percent share worth some $48 billion this year and is expected to control 20 percent of all U.S. ad spending, online and offline combined.

"Right now we're looking at advertising", he said. On Friday, Google disclosed in an investor filing that it had received a CID from DOJ.

The announcement followed a similar but separate probe from 11 state Attorneys General into Facebook's practices.

"We want to make sure that we protect the free market, protect consumers and give them every opportunity", Rutledge said. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), on the other hand, call for tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google to be broken up simply for being too big.

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