Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and a coalition of 50 attorneys general led by Texas Attorney General Paxton announced the launch of a multistate, bipartisan investigation of tech giant Google’s business practices in accordance with state and federal antitrust laws.
The bipartisan coalition announced plans to investigate Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers. 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. Additionally, Missouri’s existing investigation into Google’s practices will roll into this multistate investigation.
Missouri’s prior Attorney General Josh Hawley launched an investigation into Google’s antitrust practices, and this new bi-partisan investigation allows for Missouri to continue examining Google’s practices in a multistate investigation with the strength of a coalition of attorneys general and the federal government.
“The internet impacts our lives every single day and Google is one of the most recognizable and most used search engines and tech platforms in the world. However, as we wrestle with the continued unsettling actions of our largest tech firms such as Google, we must ensure that those companies who have risen to the top have done so through free market competition, and not anti-competitive tactics,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Protecting the legal rights of all six million Missourians is one of my most important jobs as attorney general, and ensuring that powerful tech companies who control the tech platforms that Missourians use on a daily basis are acting responsibly certainly falls under that job description.”
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.