Google faces probe by 50 state attorneys general for antitrust violations

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 11, 2019

The company reported US$116.3 billion (S$160 billion) in ad revenue previous year, which was 85 per cent of overall sales.

"Access to information is power and Google is one of the biggest companies in the information business", said Attorney General Connors. According to her announcement, James has been joined by "the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia". "Regarding this investigation or any other, to protect the integrity of potential and ongoing investigations, we can not provide comment". The company dominates the market with its search business, its ownership of Adsense, which sells ads, and in videos ads through YouTube, which Google also owns. The Google investigation is made up of 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Last week, when news broke of the coordinated investigation, Google told ZDNet in a statement that it will continue to work with regulators and attorneys general in their inquiries.

The news conference featured a dozen Republican attorneys general plus the Democratic attorney general of Washington, D.C. "Is something really free if online ad prices go up based on one company's control". Google's dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data.

Kent Walker, Google's senior vice president of global affairs, said in a blog post Friday that the company would cooperate with regulators while stressing that its services "help people, create more choice, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the United States". "Any investigation into the advertising practices of Google is going to take a lot of time". Google is expected to rake in more than $48 billion in US digital ad revenue this year, far outperforming its peers, while capturing 75 per cent of all spending on USA search ads, according to eMarketer.

Speaking to reporters in front of the US Supreme Court Monday, a group of 13 attorneys general struck a bipartisan tone. Google has been accused that it unfairly hurts competition and consumers.

"And what we have found is that Google, the giant company Google, is the one that's directing most if not all of the traffic on this highway".

"I personally think that breakup is an extreme remedy and perhaps not the best remedy", Yost said on NPR.

According to eMarketer, Google is expected to collect more than $48 billion in USA digital ad revenue this year, capturing 75 percent of all spending on search ads in 2019.

"There is nothing wrong with a business becoming the biggest game in town if it does so through free market competition", he said. There are also concerns over biased search results as well as worries about privacy. These might also become the subject of investigation by the AGs. Google is appealing the fine.

In July, the Justice Department announced an antitrust probe into America's biggest tech companies.

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