On Monday, 50 attorneys general from US states and territories signed onto an antitrust investigation into Google, placing even more pressure on the major tech firm that is already facing intense scrutiny over its market dominance from the government.
The probe, led by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton from Texas, will focus primarily on Google’s advertising and search businesses. But in remarks given Monday, the attorneys general suggested that they may expand the investigation later.
California and Alabama are the only two state attorneys general staying out of the probe.
“We applaud the 50 state attorneys general for taking this unprecedented stand against Big Tech by uniting to investigate Google’s destruction of competition in search and advertising,” the Open Markets Institute said in a statement. “We haven’t seen a major monopolization case against a tech giant since Microsoft was sued in 1998. Today’s announcement marks the start of a new era.”
Running parallel to the states’ investigation, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are also probing the companies out of concerns they may be stifling competition in the industry. In its last quarterly earnings, Facebook disclosed that the FTC had opened an antitrust investigation into the company in June. The Justice Department announced its own broad antitrust review opened into the entirety of the tech sector last July as well.
At a conference in August, the DOJ’s antitrust head Makan Delrahim told reporters that the Department was working alongside the state attorneys general to investigate possible antitrust violations in the tech sectors.