The Texas attorney general, who is leading the antitrust investigation into Google, accused the tech giant of delaying the case and vowed to keep it going. In an interview with the media on Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Google was trying to block the state’s introduction of some outside advisers to delay the investigation.
In response, Paxton said, he would take a more aggressive stance. “They pushed us into a fight,” Paxton said. We don’t want to fight, but if they don’t cooperate, we will never back down. “
Google has said it opposes the introduction of three advisers because they work for rivals, including Microsoft and News Corp. A Google spokesman said: “We have been working constructively with the Attorney General of Texas and have provided a great deal of information to his investigation, but we also require that our confidential business information not be shared with competitors or complainants.” “
Last September, Texas announced an investigation into Google under steps from the U.S. Supreme Court, backed by 49 attorneys general in almost all states and territories. Paxton told the media that his team is focused on Google’s advertising business, while other states are investigating a series of additional anti-competitive complaints.
On Tuesday, Paxton met with several other state attorneys general, including Doug Peterson of Nebraska and Sean Reyes of Utah, with top Justice Department officials. The Justice Department is also investigating Google.
Paxton said part of the purpose of the meeting was to connect with the new leadership of the U.S. Department of Justice. This week, Mark An der Rahim, a senior U.S. antitrust official, took a step back from the Google investigation. Mr. Drahim has previously lobbied for Google, a position that lawmakers and activists have criticized as a conflict of interest. The Justice Department said Mr. Drahim’s decision to recuse himself from the case was “very cautious.”
Paxton would not discuss whether the states would cooperate with the Justice Department. But he acknowledged that Google’s vast resources put the states that launched the investigation at a disadvantage. He thinks Google appears to be taking a delaying approach.
Paxton said Google’s level of cooperation will help determine when the investigation will end. ‘When it ends depends on what we find or don’t find, and anything is possible, ‘ he said.