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California reportedly opens Google antitrust probe
- California’s attorney general is said to have opened an antitrust probe into Google.
- The state would join most of the country and the Justice Department in launching investigations.
Google may be facing antitrust scrutiny in its home state.
Politico sources claim California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has opened an antitrust probe into Google. It’s not clear what business area the investigation is focusing on, but the case is reportedly separate to the one involving 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. They’re focusing on Google’s dominance in the ad technology and search markets.
Spokespeople for both Becerra’s office and Google have declined to comment. Becerra’s spokesperson said it was policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of investigations.
This is a large step for California. While the state has a history of eagerly launching antitrust cases, it was conspicuously absent from the multi-state investigation launched in September 2019. While the state didn’t explain its absence, it has antitrust laws that are sometimes interpreted more loosely than federal counterparts and might include restitution or similar penalties.
This isn’t the only legal pressure on Google. Company chief Sundar Pichai has agreed to testify for a House Judiciary panel on July 27 alongside the CEOs of Amazon, Apple and Facebook. Politicians across the country are concerned about the power of the largest US companies, and there’s a distinct possibility they’ll demand changes in a bid to improve competition.