Google's ad practices draw new antitrust probe by U.S. states

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The state AGs said that one of the primary areas of investigations will be Google's dominance in search, as well as the company's potential monopolistic behavior.

On Monday, Reyes and Racine joined forces again - this time flanked by almost a dozen mostly Republican state attorneys general on the steps of the Supreme Court and dozens more from both parties who signed onto the formal investigation.

They are looking into whether the company is taking unfair advantage of its dominance in the market to hamper competition. "We will not prejudge the direction or outcome of this investigation, but are committed to following the facts in whatever direction they take us", said Attorney General Tong.

"We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook's actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers' choices, or increased the price of advertising", James said".

Shares of Google parent Alphabet, fell as much as 1% following the announcement and closed down less than 1% at US$1,205.27 in NY. As noted by The Washington Post, this could be worrying for Google as the investigation may later expand beyond just ads.

It's a bipartisan probe, and the only states whose attorneys general have not yet joined are California and Alabama.

Utah attorney general Sean Reyes said that their investigation is not "anti-tech", but will "level the playing the field" in the technology marketplace.

The Federal Trade Commission has been conducting its own competition probe of Big Tech, as has the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.

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"I happen to think this will rewrite the standard for antitrust", Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told CNBC television.

Iowa is one of eight states leading the investigation, along with Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina and Mississippi.

Google specifically has faced accusations that its web search service, which has become so dominant that it is now a verb, leads consumers to its own products at the cost of competitors.

"We have answered many questions on these issues over many years, in the United States as well as overseas, across many aspects of our business, so this is not new for us", Google exec Kent Walker wrote last week in a blog post confirming that the company is the target of a DOJ probe. "We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so", he said.

The company - and peers such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple - have long argued that although their businesses are large, they are useful and beneficial to consumers.

"Pennsylvanians deserve access to an internet where they can watch, read, and share freely", said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

"Now, more than ever, information is power, and the most important source of information in Americans' day-to-day lives is the internet".

President Donald Trump's objections with Google are different.

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