Attorneys general from nearly every U.S. state have jointly launched an investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behavior.” Notable for its absence: California, Google’s home state.
Citing a need to protect the integrity of “potential and ongoing investigations,” Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra declined to say why he refused to join the chief law enforcement officers of 48 other states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, in examining the Mountain View-based internet giant’s dominance in online advertising. Alabama is the only other state not participating in the probe, announced Monday.
Seeing as Becerra’s office has one of the most robust and aggressive antitrust teams in the country and his domain includes many of the largest tech firms, experts say it’s perplexing that he elected not to take part.
“I just do not understand why California is not a part of this effort,” said John Simpson, who served as the privacy and technology project director at Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy organization, until he retired earlier this year. “Google has monopolized the market and really needs to be held accountable for that.”
It’s surprising, he said, because the state has been a part of so many similar joint efforts in the past. “I’m completely at a loss to explain why this is happening.”
For so many states to act in concert presents a “fairly powerful gesture,” said William Kovacic, professor of law at George Washington University and former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President George W. Bush.
“You can think of a sports team that’s witnessed the injury of a significant team member,” Kovacic said. “It’s still a great team but you’d like one of your stars to be present.”