The antitrust lawsuit is setup by seven states and could come as early as December.
A bipartisan group of U.S. states plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google as early as next month. The swift action could potentially beat a more widely anticipated lawsuit from a different group of states led by Texas.
The bipartisan group is made up of Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. They plan combine their case with the federal government’s.
The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in October. This group of states has said it planned to combine its case with the government’s.
However, the Colorado/Nebraska group states’ broader inquiry contrasts with the Justice Department’s relatively narrow lawsuit. That suit focused on Google’s efforts to build and retain its dominance in search and its search advertising business.
The charge: Google is striking deals with illegal intent
The states argue that Google is illegally protecting its dominant position in the market for search and search advertising. They are doing this with the deals Google has struck with companies like Apple.
Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to have its search engine set as the default option on iPhones and other devices.
Google has flatly denied wrongdoing in response to the government’s lawsuit and other probes. Moreover, the company said that its search engine and other products are dominant simply because consumers prefer them.
Problems in the AG’s office delay the Texas suit
The states’ lawsuit is separate from a Texas antitrust action that is pending. But as Reuters reports, turmoil in the state attorney general’s office may slow the Texas action.
Media reports say the FBI was investigating accusations that Attorney General Ken Paxton abused his office to help a political donor.
Several of Paxton’s aides, who had become whistle blowers, resigned or were fired, including people who were key to the Google investigation.
Texas has been trying to find replacements, but the turnover has led to delays.