Nov 14, 2019

States to expand Google probe

Photo: Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

The multi-state antitrust probe into Google will expand beyond the advertising business to search and Android, CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Google is already facing investigations into potentially monopolistic behavior on many fronts, and the expansion of the states' probe will further widen the scrutiny.

Driving the news: The states investigating Google plan to write up civil investigative demands for information on search and Android, according to the CNBC report.

  • The Texas-led probe began with a focus on online advertising, though Attorney General Ken Paxton said in announcing the inquiry, "Right now it's about advertising, but the facts will lead where they lead."
  • The Justice Department, which is also investigating Google, is reviewing the competitive dynamics around personalized advertising, antitrust division chief Makan Delrahim said during a House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Flashback: Google disclosed in September that the Justice Department has requested information on prior antitrust investigations in the U.S. and elsewhere.

  • The FTC closed a probe into Google's search practices in 2013 without taking legal action.
  • Google referred a request for comment to a blog post from September that indicated the company expected the states to seek information.

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