November 23, 2020
By Diane Bartz and Paresh Dave
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of state attorneys general plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google as early as next month, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The lawsuit is separate from a widely anticipated Texas antitrust action that could also come before the end of the year.
The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in October, and this group of states has said it planned to combine its case with the government’s. The states are Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
One source said the states planned to file the lawsuit in federal court in mid to late December while the second said the target date was Dec. 15.
The group has had an expansive probe underway into Google’s businesses, including Android. No final decisions had been made regarding what would be included in the lawsuit, a third source said.
Texas and other states are focusing on Google’s dominance of digital advertising.
Google has broadly denied wrongdoing in response to the government’s lawsuit and other probes, and said that its search engine and other products are dominant because consumers prefer them.
The states’ expansive inquiry contrasts with the Justice Department’s relatively narrow lawsuit, which focused on Google’s efforts to build and retain its dominance in search and its search advertising business.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Paresh Dave; Editing by Aurora Ellis)