Attorney General Curtis Hill today announced a multistate investigation into tech giant Google’s business practices in accordance with state and federal antitrust laws.
“Just like individual citizens, corporations must be held accountable for following the law,” Attorney General Hill said. “In this instance, we must recognize that stifling free and fair competition is an activity that causes real harm to real people.”
The bipartisan coalition will investigate Google’s control of online advertising markets and search traffic, which may have involved anticompetitive behavior. 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.
The investigation will follow wherever the facts lead, Attorney General Hill said.
“If Google has gained its advantages in the marketplace through free and fair competition, then let the chips fall where they will,” he said. “If, however, the facts uncovered in this investigation lead us to other conclusions, then we must pursue appropriate follow-up actions to protect the free market.”
Attorney General Hill discussed the investigation at a press conference today in Washington D.C. that also included other attorneys general.
Past investigations of Google have uncovered violations ranging from advertising illegal drugs in the United States to now three antitrust actions brought by the European Commission. None of these previous investigations, however, fully address the source of Google’s sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power.