Google Antitrust Probe Looms Over the Tech Giant

State offices are clamoring to join probe into potential Google antitrust activity…

Nearly all U.S. states are now getting on board to actively pursue Google antitrust investigations, according to new reports.

Lawmakers will look into whether Google negatively impacted competition through its search and advertising services. That’s according to the reporting on both the depth and the intended scope of the inquiries.

So far, the attorney general offices of 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have presented plans to the public according to CNN Business reports on Tuesday.

“We’ve heard hundreds of those stories from individuals with small businesses, large businesses — there’s a lot of concern out there,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Politico earlier this month. The state official is preparing to head up an inquiry into Google practices.

Official Methods of Inquiry

The first step in the probe: states issuing a civil investigative demand to Google/Alphabet to further investigate its work. The dominating tech giant confirmed to Reuters on September 6 that the company received the document.

Google Moves Lower

So how’s Google’s stock holding up? It moved lower throughout the past market day, losing approximately 60 points over the week. But the movement doesn’t seem that statistically significant compared to most reactions to similar news items. 

There’s an even sharper downturn over the month. Google started in about the same position near $1,180. It spiked up to around $1,240 on September 13 and $1,245 on September 25 before losing about half a percent of its value.

Six months ago, Google stood at about $1,200. Meanwhile, 52-week highs are significantly higher at $1,296, with 52-week lows at $977.

Critics of looming action against the tech giant are quick to point out that the Google antitrust probe won’t likely make much of a dent. The argument seems to be that the company’s business policies and services are deeply entrenched in and fundamental to the internet. Even the biggest probe may not have much of an effect.

Still, state officials are moving ahead with gusto. Ohio attorney general David Yost further explains the move in assessing Google’s clout, giving a kind of history lesson in a recent CNN interview.

“Antitrust is really about power and constraining power,” Yost said. “Money, after the industrial revolution, was the means by which monopolists tried to control society and limit freedoms – but it was fundamentally about power. Today, data is the new money, and that’s what is going on in big tech…”

Yost’s words will resonate with anyone who sees Google’s power in the markets as immense. Just look not only at the company’s huge user base. Then there’s the popularity of PPC services and Adwords.

This inquiry could be a game-changer as pressure builds to fully evaluate the role of Google in modern economies. The consensus by so many state attorney generals doesn’t seem likely to break up soon, and consumers are looking ahead to what sorts of findings may come out of this generalized study.

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