Global Economy

US states step up Google scrutiny over antitrust issues

Washington: State officials investigating Alphabet’s Google met on Monday to dive into competition issues surrounding the search giant as they press forward with an investigation into whether the company is violating antitrust laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The officials met privately in Denver with outside experts with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of Google’s businesses and the dynamics of the markets it operates in, including digital advertising, said one of the people.

The gathering comes two months after all but two states opened an antitrust investigation into Google with an initial focus on its advertising practices, according to an investigative demand sent to the company. Publishers have long complained that Google’s dominance in the technology that delivers ads across the web harms competition. The meeting was similar to one held last month in New York where state officials met with experts about Facebook. The social media giant is under investigation by 45 states, Guam and the District of Columbia.

State officials were also planning to map out a strategy for dividing the workload of the investigation, said two of the people. Among those advising the states is Cristina Caffarra, an economist at Charles River Associates. Google has complained about Caffarra’s work for the state because of her past work for Google adversaries News Corp., Microsoft and Russia’s Yandex.


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