California Launches Antitrust Investigation Against Google

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies
Alex Wong/ Getty

California, the home state of Silicon Valley, reportedly opened an antitrust investigation against Internet giant Google on Tuesday. Until today, California joined Alabama as the only states not investigating Google’s business practices.

California has reportedly launched its own antitrust investigation against Google as Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have started investigations against the Internet giant. In September, attorneys general from 48 states, Peurto Rico, and Washington, D.C. announced that they will investigate Google for potential antitrust violations regarding their dominance in the digital advertising market. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has led the investigation and even expanded the probe into other areas, such as Google’s dominance in the search market.

California initially declined the join the bipartisan, multistate investigation of Google. Alabama is now the lone state that has declined to investigate the search giant.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra has repeatedly declined to explain why the state would not join the multistate antitrust investigation.

The DOJ has been working on its investigation against Google and has worked with the multistate investigation against Google; the Justice Department is expected to file a suit against the company as soon as next month. The DOJ is looking at allegations that the company has monopolized the digital advertising market and used exclusive contacts to maintain its search dominance.

Google faces increasing scrutiny from Congress as well.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify alongside the CEOs of Apple, Facebook, and Amazon later this month in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

Politico wrote that the state has had of history of investigating Google for anticompetitive behavior. The outlet wrote:

Google has previously been in California’s crosshairs over antitrust concerns. In the early 2010s, California was among five states that investigated Google alongside the Federal Trade Commission over allegations the tech giant biased its search results to favor its own products. The FTC opted against filing an antitrust suit and closed its probe in January 2013. California and the other states, which included Texas, New York, Oklahoma and Ohio, later closed their probes in 2014.

California has its own antitrust laws, the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Act, that are sometimes interpreted more broadly than the U.S. federal antitrust law. Unlike federal antitrust law, California’s laws do allow government enforcers to seek restitution or civil penalties for violations.

“The state also has a history of aggressively pursuing antitrust cases and has among the largest staffs of any attorneys general devoted to antitrust and competition issues,” Politico reporter Leah Nylen added.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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