Virginia and 47 other states has joined a bipartisan investigation into whether Google is guilty of violating antitrust laws.
The investigation will seek to determine whether the tech giant’s control over searches and advertisements has yielded anticompetitive behavior that could harm consumers through higher prices and less choice and innovation.
“Big tech companies and their products have become ubiquitous in nearly every phase of American life, offering an unprecedented range of products, gathering and utilizing consumer data in a way we’ve never seen before, and exercising significant influence over a diverse set of important markets,” the commonwealth’s attorney general, Mark Herring, said in a statement.
“That’s why it’s important to ensure that these large, powerful corporations do not harm Virginians by engaging in unlawful, anticompetitive business practices,” Herring said. “We know that concentration of market share can stifle innovation, limit choice, reduce employment, and drive up prices. That’s why during this era of megamergers and corporate consolidation it’s important that state attorneys general step up to protect our citizens from anticompetitive behavior that violates the law and hurts consumers.”
The probe will be led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said in a statement that the state attorneys general from across the country will be working with federal officials to investigate Google. Alabama and California are the only two states that did not sign into the joint investigation.
Just last week, several state attorneys general signed onto a bipartisan investigation to determine whether Facebook is engaged in anti-competitive behavior, in violation of antitrust laws. Virginia is not involved in the Facebook investigation.
The push to reevaluate the power of these tech giants has been ongoing in the United States and other parts of the world.
About two months ago, the U.S. Department of Justice launched its own antitrust investigation into several online platforms, including Google and Apple. In March, the European Commission fined Google about €1.5 billion for violating European antitrust laws. That’s equivalent to more than $1.6 billion.
Google’s press team did not respond to a request for comment from The Center Square by the time of publication.