Following the recent probings of Facebook, Apple, Amazon and other big tech companies by the Justice Department of the United States in July, 48 Attorneys General have opened an antitrust probe into Google’s affairs.
Google is being probed for suspected usage of underhanded and misleading tactics to control search traffic. The probe is led by the Attorney General for Texas, Ken Paxton.
Paxton said the probe will concentrate on the “overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers”.
Prior to the recent probes into tech companies by the United States, Google had faced antitrust probes from Europe. In March, the American tech company had been fined 1.5 billion euros, about $1.7 billion. This fine was as a result of violations in the online market advertising.
According to the European authorities, Google had been imposing unfair terms on companies within the continent that used its search bar on their websites. This was not the first fine that Google received from the European authorities, it had earlier received two fines, making the $1.7 billion its third fine from Europe since 2017.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department announced that tech companies would be scrutinised based on concerns about search, social media and some retail services.
In line with the current antitrust probing of Google, the states involved have asked Google to provide documents on its advertising business. The probe is expected to expand to other areas including data privacy.
Attorney General for Arkansas, Leslie Rutledge, addressed Google’s search engine as a “juggernaut”. She argued that the free search provided by Google came at the price of having to choose from Google’s preferred options and not the universally available options.
Rutledge believes the free search cost users the freedom to choose the best products from the best companies.
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.Leslie Rutledge
With Facebook Inc. also under investigation from a separate group of eight state attorneys general, the big tech companies may be neck-deep in probes in the coming months.
Congress and antitrust enforcers allowed these firms to regulate themselves with little oversight…, As a result, the internet has become increasingly concentrated, less open and growingly hostile to innovation and entrepreneurship.Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat of Rhode Island
Google’s parent company, Alphabet announced on Friday that it was cooperating with federal regulators and the probes from the states.
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