Nessel and 49 other attorneys general open antitrust investigation of Google

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Monday joined 49 other attorneys general in a multi-state antitrust investigation of the conduct of tech giant, Google.

The bipartisan alliance of attorneys general announced plans to investigate Google’s overarching control of online advertising markets, search traffic and whether it engages in anticompetitive behavior that harms the public. Antitrust enforcement officials from each state will work in cooperation with federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services and ensure that Americans have access to free and open digital markets.

“Google plays a critical role in our online economy as the biggest and most powerful advertising and search engine company in the country. It is illegal for a business to use its market power to engage in anticompetitive conduct specifically to protect its status as a virtual monopoly,” said Nessel. “Our personal data is the biggest commodity in today’s online economy.

When a giant like Google makes 90 percent of its revenue from utilizing our personal data in its advertising business while undermining consumer choice, stiAfling innovation, violating our privacy, and controlling the flow and exchange of information, it is essential that we take a closer look. We will go where the facts lead us to both protect our consumers and to ensure a free and competitive market.”

Past investigations of Google uncovered violations ranging from advertising illegal drugs in the United States to three antitrust actions brought by the European Commission. None of these previous investigations, however, fully addressed the source of Google’s sustained market power and its ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices intended to protect and maintain that power.

Michigan joins the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming in launching this investigation.

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