Big tech companies have long rebuffed attempts by the U.S. federal government to scrutinize or scale back their market power.
Now they face a new coalition of antitrust enforcers: prosecutors from nearly all 50 states.
In a rare show of bipartisan force, attorneys general from 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are teaming up to open an investigation into whether Google’s huge online search and advertising business is engaging in monopolistic behavior.
South Dakota is among the states looking into Google. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg says 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 Texas-led antitrust investigation of Google was announced Monday on the steps of the Supreme Court. It follows a separate multistate investigation of Facebook’s market dominance that was revealed Friday.
Past investigations of Google 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.