A bipartisan group of states is ready to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google next month, which could precede the more widely-publicized lawsuit from another group of states against the tech giant led by Texas, Reuters writes.
The states involved include Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah, according to Reuters. The group is sometimes referred to as the Colorado/Nebraska group and has said it could combine its case with the larger one from the The Department of Justice (DOJ).
The lawsuit from the government alleges that Google has used anticompetitive practices to establish dominance as a search engine. In response, the company has said it doesn’t force customers to use its services and that they do so because of the quality, Reuters writes. The Justice Department’s suit is relatively narrow compared to the suit led by Colorado and Nebraska, Reuters writes.
The Texas effort could be stymied by trouble at the state attorney general’s office, where the media there reported that Attorney General Ken Paxton had abused his office to help a media donor. Numerous aides had either become whistleblowers or were fired, and the office promoted Shawn Cowles to be deputy attorney general for civil litigation.
The DOJ suit came after a probe lasting over a year in which the department looked into the company’s 80 percent dominance in the search engine and advertising markets. Attorney General William Barr, PYMNTS writes, said that millions of Americans relying on the internet and search platforms makes it “vital” for competition to exist there, which made the case “monumental.”
In turn, Google has urged the government to give up the documents it used to make the case against the tech giant. Google is aiming to file a federal response to the suit by Dec. 21, with Google attorney John Schmidtlein saying the team needs “to know more about the contours of that material.”