Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced joining 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in a multistate, bipartisan investigation of Google’s business practices in accordance with state and federal antitrust laws. The bipartisan coalition announced plans to investigate Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers. Legal experts from each state will work in cooperation with federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services and ensure that Americans have access to free digital markets.
“For the free market to work, there must be competition,” said Attorney General Donovan. “A healthy and fair marketplace provides consumers with choices, allows innovation to flourish, and maintains users’ privacy.”
Google has been investigated for a number of violations by states and federal authorities, including privacy violations. There are now three antitrust actions before the European Commission. None of these previous investigations, however, fully addressed the source of Google’s sustained market power. Specifically, previous investigations did not flush out Google’s ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power.
Attorney General Donovan is joined in this investigation from attorneys general from the following: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.