On Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (pictured, above) led a coalition of 10 states in filing an antitrust suit against Google alleging the search giant illegally suppresses competition and gets excessive profits from online ads.
Backers of the suit - all Republicans - claim that Google uses improper tactics to force publishers to use its ad tools, making Google an unavoidable intermediary to online transactions that are expected to generate $42B in revenue for Google in 2020. And that fees that Google collects on ads are passed down to and harm average Americans. Also that Google fails to protect the privacy of web users and has improperly acquired from Facebook access to millions of its members' encrypted messages, videos, photos and audio files.
Paxton said in a statement:
“Google is a trillion-dollar monopoly brazenly abusing its monopolistic power, going so far as to induce senior Facebook executives to agree to a contractual scheme that undermines the heart of competitive process. In this advertising monopoly on an electronically traded market, Google is essentially trading on ‘insider information’ by acting as the pitcher, catcher, batter and umpire, all at the same time. This isn’t the ‘free market’ at work here. This is anti-market and illegal under state and federal law.”
A Google spokesperson said that the company has invested in ad tech services that help businesses and benefit consumers, and that Paxton's case is "meritless" and "baseless".
More Attorneys-General - Republicans and Democrats both - are expected to file yet another suit, possibly as early as this week or next.