Officials from the DOJ and some state attorneys general are reportedly set to meet on Friday to discuss an antitrust probe of Google.
Reuters reports that U.S. Justice Department officials and some state attorneys general have set a meeting for Friday to discuss an antitrust probe of Google. The federal government and nearly all state attorneys general have now opened investigations into allegations that Google has broken antitrust laws.
The federal probe is focusing heavily on search bias, advertising and Google’s Android mobile operating system. Breitbart News reported in November of 2019 that the attorneys general which are representing 48 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C will be writing up subpoenas known as civil investigative demands (CID) to support the investigations.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the probe, which initially focused mainly on Google’s advertising business. But at a recent meeting, Paxton expressed his support for expanding the purview of the investigation to include Google search and the company’s Android mobile operating system. Other states will be carrying out the investigation of search and Android separately.
When asked about the scope of the probe, a spokesperson for the Texas attorney general referred to a statement from October which reads: “At this point, the multistate investigation is focused solely on online advertising; however, as always, the facts we discover as the investigation progresses will determine where the investigation ultimately leads.”
It was recently reported that the CEO of DuckDuckGo, Gabriel Weinberg, stated that the company has spoken with state regulators and the DOJ. Justice Department officials and state attorneys general reportedly asked DuckDuckGo about requiring Google to give consumers alternatives to its search engine on Android devices and in the Google Chrome web browser.
Weinberg told Bloomberg: “We’ve been talking to all of them about search and all of them have asked us detailed search questions.” Winberg’s comments appear to indicate that the search engine, one of Google’s core businesses, is under great scrutiny in antitrust probes.
The DOJ and Texas are reportedly already examining Google’s dominance in the digital advertising market. The Justice Department alongside a coalition of states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have been investigating Google for a year and a lawsuit has already been drafted by the DOJ which could be filed within the next few months.
The investigation into Google covers all of the company’s products but states including Utah and Iowa are focusing specifically on search according to individuals with knowledge of the matter. Texas is focusing on the digital ad market and any related technology.
Google’s search business handles most of the online searches in the U.S. with Microsoft’s Bing and DuckDuckGo trailing far behind. The business generated almost $100 billion in revenue last year.
A Google spokesperson previously commented on the antitrust investigations stating: “We continue to engage with the ongoing investigations led by the Department of Justice and Attorney General Paxton, and we don’t have any updates or comments on speculation.”