North Dakota and Minnesota are participating in a multistate investigation, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, of Google's business practices.
The coalition of 50 states, minus California and Alabama, but including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., will investigate whether Google’s dominance in online search traffic and advertising markets is a result of anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers. The states will work cooperatively with federal authorities to assess competitive conditions for online services, to ensure all Americans have access to a digital free market.
“Google’s control and flow of information is something that significantly affects all of us in our everyday lives, and this investigation will address any harmful conduct by Google as a result of any inappropriate actions or violation of free market competition,” North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said in a statement issued Monday, Sept. 9.
Stenehjem's office reported that past investigations of Google uncovered violations ranging from advertising illegal drugs in the United States as well as three antitrust actions brought by the European Commission. None of these previous investigations, however, fully address the source of Google’s sustained market power and the ability to engage in serial and repeated business practices with the intention to protect and maintain that power, according to Stenehjem.