A group of 50 US states have announced an investigation against Google's "potential monopolistic behaviour" and the Internet giant's dominance of the online advertising market. Announcing the launch of the investigation on Monday, the attorney generals from these states alleged that Internet is not free as a result of some of the practices of Google.
"Fifty attorney generals from different states and territories are launching an investigation into Google's potential monopolistic behaviour," Attorney General of the District of Columbia Karl Racine told reporters at a press conference on Monday.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told reporters at a news conference here that Google dominates all aspects of advertising and searching on the Internet as they dominate the buyer side, the seller, the auction and even the video with YouTube. What we've all learned is that while many consumers believe that the Internet is free, certainly we know from Google's profits of USD 117 billion that the Internet is not free, he said. However, Google has denied the allegations, saying its services help people, create more choice and support thousands of jobs and small businesses across the United States.
Google is one of America's top spenders on research and development, making investments that spur innovation: Things that were science fiction a few years ago are now free for everyone-translating any language instantaneously, learning about objects by pointing your phone, getting an answer to pretty much any question you might have, senior Vice President of Google's Global Affairs Kent Walker said. At the same time, it's of course right that governments should have oversight to ensure that "all successful companies, including ours, are complying with the law. The Department of Justice (DOJ), for example, has announced that it's starting a review of online platforms," he said.
Walker said that Google has answered many questions on these issues over many years, in the United States as well as overseas, across many aspects of its business. So this is not new for us. The DOJ has asked us to provide information about these past investigations, and we expect state attorneys general will ask similar questions. We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so, he said. We look forward to showing how we are investing in innovation, providing services that people want, and engaging in robust and fair competition, Walker said.
Attorney General Paxton clarified that this investigation is not a lawsuit but a probe to determine the facts. And even as we speak, I'll be up here about a minute, there will be 3.8 million searches and a lot of advertising dollars just made in every minute that one of these people speaks. Google will be in control of most of those searches, he alleged. Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson said, "In the anti-competitive activity of the nature that this bipartisan coalition of states and Attorneys General will be investigating has the potential for driving up the cost of business for businesses in Alaska.
According to Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, the Internet is the superhighway of information. And what we have found is that Google, the giant company Google, is the one that's directing most if not all of the traffic on this highway. It is important that we determine for our states whether this traffic determination is being done in a fair manner, he said. We certainly want to make sure that the Internet has competition, and more importantly, we want to make sure that we are preserving innovation, Hill said.
The action adds to a mounting number of probes of big technology firms by US authorities. On Friday, a separate group of states announced they had launched a probe of Facebook to determine whether the social media giant had stifled competition and adequately protected consumer data.