The investigation into Google’s competitive practices launched by the attorneys general of 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia isn’t a witch hunt or political maneuver, but a broad bipartisan effort to protect the free market and American consumers, according to Curtis Hill, the attorney general of Indiana, writing in an op-ed for Fox News. The investigation will examine whether Google’s business practices have violated federal or state laws through “calculated manipulation to improperly thwart competition.”
- Hill, a Republican, makes clear the investigation is in no way anti-business or anti-technology: “If the company has gained its advantages in the marketplace through free and fair competition, then good for Google. There is no doubt, after all, that Google provides useful products and valuable services to Americans and others around the globe.”
- Among the elements examined by the attorneys general will be Google’s ordering of search results, which allegedly favor paying customers as well as its own products and services, like YouTube, at the expense of others.
- Hill also referred to allegations that Google’s dominance of online search and advertising has harmed news publishers and other journalistic outlets, in part by depriving them of audience and ad revenue.
- Hill was also careful to emphasize that the investigation is bipartisan: “Our group of attorneys general includes 26 Democrats and 23 Republicans. We represent 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. These days, achieving this kind of consensus among so diverse a collection of individuals is a virtual miracle.”
- The news comes as the reappointment of Margrethe Vestager as the EU’s chief competition regulator promises more regulatory scrutiny for Google (and other big tech firms) in Europe. Google has already paid $9.1 billion in fines in Europe for anti-competitive practices.