Texas’s state attorney general has announced new antitrust charges against Google, focusing on the company’s ad tech.
In a bizarre video posted to the office’s verified twitter account, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton says the company “repeatedly used its monopolistic power to control pricing” in online ads. “These actions harm every person in America,” Paxton continues. “It isn’t fair that Google can harm the web pages you visit and read.”
This internet Goliath used its power to manipulate the market, destroy competition, and harm YOU, the consumer. Stay tuned… pic.twitter.com/fdEVEWQb0e
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) December 16, 2020
In the video, Paxton describes the action as a “multi-state lawsuit,” but it is unclear which other states have joined the lawsuit. A number of collaborating states left the lawsuit after several members of Paxton’s staff accused him of accepting bribes, triggering a broader crisis within the state office. More recently, Paxton’s office has hired private law firms specifically to work on the Google case.
Since the complaint has not appeared in official filings, it is also unclear what specific charges Google will face. The office’s preceding probe largely examined Google’s dominance of the online ad marketplace, particularly its recent ad tech acquisitions.
Today’s case joins a number of parallel antitrust cases being brought against the tech giant. In October, the Department of Justice filed antitrust charges focusing specifically on Google’s contracts with companies like Apple and Mozilla to maintain its dominance in search. Texas has also joined that case as a co-plaintiff.
A third case led by Colorado’s state attorney general is also rumored to be close to filing. The Colorado case would focus on how Google’s search engine design has disadvantaged rivals like Yelp and Genius that also offer competing information services. A recent Politico report said a complaint could be filed “as soon as Thursday,” citing two persons close to the probe.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.