CNBC reports that the 50 lawyers tasked with investigating possible antitrust violations by Google in relating to advertising will also be looking into the firm’s search and Android mobile operating system products. The attorneys general which are representing 48 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C will be writing up subpoenas known as civil investigative demands (CID) to support the investigations.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the probe, which initially focused mainly on Google’s advertising business but at a recent meeting, Paxton expressed his support for expanding the purview of the investigation to include Google search and the company’s Android mobile operating system. Other states will be carrying out the investigation of search and Android separately.
When asked about the scope of the probe, a spokesperson for the Texas attorney general referred to a statement from October which reads: “At this point, the multistate investigation is focused solely on online advertising; however, as always, the facts we discover as the investigation progresses will determine where the investigation ultimately leads.”
Google declined to comment on the recent developments but following the announcement of the probe in September, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, wrote a blog post in which he stated that the company will cooperate with government investigations.
Google said in a securities filing this summer that the Department of Justice has served CIDs relating to “prior antitrust investigations in the United States and elsewhere.” Previous antitrust investigations into Google have led to nothing in the past. In 2013, the FTC finished a two-year investigation into Google which culminated Google agreeing to remove restrictions on its ad platform to make it easier for advertisers to manage campaigns across rival platforms.
In 2010, an investigation into Google’s deal with the mobile advertising network company AdMob found that the deal was unlikely to harm competitors in the mobile advertising industry.