BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Ap) – A bipartisan coalition of U.S. attorneys general is investing new resources in an antitrust investigation into Google’s business esbutt with a focus on Android and search. Over the past few months, U.S. states have allocated resources and brought in new advisers to negotiate, the sources said.
State officials are also working closely with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is conducting a U.S. federal antitrust investigation into Google.
Ken Paxton, Texas’s attorney general and Republican who leads state investigations, accused Google earlier this week of delaying the investigationby by trying to prevent investigators from bringing in some outside advisers.
However, the political winds seem to be in the interest of investigators, especially given that this is an election year in the United States, and that the ability of big technology companies to provide political news and ideas to the public will come under scrutiny. Silicon Valley companies are also under fire from the highest echelons of both parties, including President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders such as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Paxton announced the survey in September. The participating attorneys general represent the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and every state except California and Alabama.
At a news conference at the time, Paxton stressed that Google is dominant in the advertising market and consumer data usage. He said the scope of the investigation could be expanded. Competitors accuse Google of using technology and market position stoain to crowd out competitors in favor of its own products.
The states then decided to formally expand the investigation to Google’s Android and advertising operations. The states have appointed authorities in Utah and Iowa to lead the investigation into Android, the sources said. And states are forming formal leadership in the investigation into Google’s search business.
The states are also trying to hire “Google’s enemy,” Jim Hood, a former Mississippi chief inspector, as advisers, people familiar with the matter said. It is unclear whether Hood will be paid for the job. As Mississippi’s attorney general, Hood sued Google twice, accusing the company of using illegal content and mishandling child data.
Mr Hood’s past experience suggests that the current investigation could be extended to consumer protection. Google’s critics argue that consumer protection could be part of the antitrust debate. If consumers get more choice, they can ask for more protection.
In its response, a Google spokesman referred to an official blog about the U.S. Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s investigation in 2019 and said the company “has been working constructively with regulators” and “will continue to do so.” “Google’s services help people, create more choices, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the United States,” Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president for global affairs, said in a blog post at the time. “