While some Republican attorneys general signed the Justice Department complaint, others joined the Democratic AGs in a group filing a separate complaint against Google, people said and spoke anonymously to discuss the ongoing investigation.
This bipartisan group of states expects one Cartel complaint against Google’s search practices at a later date. This group, led by Democratic attorneys general in Colorado and Iowa, along with Nebraska’s Republican attorney general, has expressed concern about what they consider tight Approaching the case, people said. Filing a separate lawsuit would allow more leverage if the DOJ negotiates a settlement with Google that they don’t like, they said.
The Trump DOJ had hoped to persuade Democratic-led states to join the complaint in hopes of avoiding allegations that politics played a role in filing the lawsuit. So far, the Google investigation has been conducted in a non-partisan manner with state attorneys from the Justice Department and nearly all US states.
A third Texas-led antitrust complaint, focusing on Google’s power in the advertising technology market, is expected to be filed in the coming weeks. The lawsuit was compounded by bribery and undue influence allegations against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The Justice Department is separately investigating Google’s control of the ad tech industry and could file a case of its own or join the Texas lawsuit.
The spokesmen for Google and the Justice Department declined to comment.
The number of states that will join the Justice Department’s complaint next week is unknown, nor is its exact content. However, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican leader of the Google investigation, said he plans to join the DOJ’s lawsuit and has criticized heads of state who do not plan to sign up. Landry and attorneys general for eight other Republican-led states met with Attorney General William Barr last month to discuss the lawsuit. They are considered the most likely candidates to participate in the DOJ complaint.
The complaint is likely to include allegations that Google has entered into restrictive contracts with smartphone manufacturers and telecom providers to ensure that the search engine is set as the default on devices using the Android operating system, two respondents said. These contracts also require other Google properties to be preinstalled on Android devices. Google’s contract with Apple, in which the tech giant pays billions each year to make sure it is the default search engine for iPhones, and the contract that goes as the standard for Mozilla’s Firefox browser are also likely to be included in the complaint .
In his 450 page report This month, the House Judiciary Antitrust Panel found that Google had used Android to consolidate and expand its dominance in search.
“Android’s business practices show how Google has maintained its search dominance by relying on various contractual restrictions that blocked competition and exploiting information asymmetries rather than competing on the merits,” the report said.
Europe’s main competition agency, the European Commission, fined Google 4.34 billion euros – about $ 5 billion – for its Android-related behavior in 2018. In response to this investigation, Google introduced a settings menu that allows Android users to choose which search engine to use on new devices.
Other aspects of Google’s business may be included in the DOJ complaint. According to the House report, the company is leveraging control of the Chrome browser, the most widely used browser in the United States, and the popular Google Maps service to aid its dominance in search. Competitors also claimed that Google is abusing their content and favoring its own products over organic search results.