50 AGs launch antitrust probe on ‘juggernaut’ Google

A group of 50 attorneys general have launched an antitrust probe into Google, saying the search giant’s dominance has become a concern for consumers and businesses alike.

The law enforcement heads — including 48 from US states and two from the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — requested documents from Google that focus on the Alphabet subsidiary’s advertising business, Texas AG Ken Paxton announced Monday.

The investigation, which lacks the participation of California and Alabama, is probing concerns that publishers and advertisers have little choice but to advertise with Google.

Utah AG Sean Reyes said the probe was “for the benefit of the tech ecosystem to help level the playing field.”

Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge called Google’s online search engine a “juggernaut,” and argued that a free search sometimes came at the cost of the freedom to choose the best products from the best companies.

“Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privacy information?” Florida AG Ashley Moody asked. “Is something really free if online ad prices go up based on one company’s control?”

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The investigations come as Silicon Valley faces unprecedented heat, including calls by presidential candidates to break up big tech companies.

Separately last week, New York AG Letitia James said she was leading a bipartisan group of state AGs to probe antitrust concerns around Facebook.

Google said last week that it would be “working constructively with regulators, including attorneys general, in answering questions,” adding that “Google’s services help people every day, create more choice for consumers, and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the country.”

Alphabet shares slipped 52 cents Monday, to $1,204.41.

With Post wires

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