Texas, 9 Other States File New Anti-Trust Suit Against Google

December 16, 2020 Updated: December 16, 2020

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday said his office has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google for its monopoly control of the advertising technology market.

In a video posted to Twitter, Paxton accused Google of engaging in “anti-competitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and deceptive misrepresentation.”

“Google repeatedly used its monopolistic power to control pricing, engage in market collusions to rig auctions in a tremendous violation of justice,” Paxton said. “This Goliath of a company is using its power to manipulate the market, destroy competition and harm you, the consumer. These actions harm every person in America.”

The Texas lawsuit was joined by other nine states, namely Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah.

The case marks yet another anti-trust action against Google, after the Justice Department in October sued the company for using “anti-competitive tactics” to preserve its dominance in the search engine and related advertising businesses. Paxton, along with 10 other Republican state attorneys general, also joined the department’s case.

Paxton’s multi-state lawsuit focuses on how Google allegedly profits from manipulating the digital advertising auction, while the federal case focuses on whether the company has unlawfully shut out competitors using exclusionary and interlocking deals.

“Google has entered into a series of exclusionary agreements that collectively lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines, and thus the internet, by requiring that Google be set as the preset default general search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide and, in many cases, prohibiting pre-installation of a competitor,” the Justice Department statement read.

Another coalition of bipartisan state attorneys generals, led by Phil Weiser of Colorado and Doug Peterson of Nebraska, is expected to file a third anti-trust lawsuit against Google this week. Their complaint may allege that Google has altered the designs of its search engine to leverages results for its own products while disadvantaging results for competitors that offer specialized search results, reported Politico, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, said in an October blog post that the Justice Department’s legal challenge is “deeply flawed,” arguing that consumers use Google because they choose to, not because Google is unlawfully steering them away from competitors.

“This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers,” Walker said. “To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”