Arizona AG joins multistate antitrust investigation into Google

Sep 10, 2019, 1:30 PM

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)...

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s attorney general announced this week he has joined a multistate antitrust investigation into Google.

“We are going to investigate Google’s dominant control of online advertising, their manipulation of search traffic, and whether that’s harming consumers here in Arizona,” Mark Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show on Tuesday.

Brnovich said he is on an executive committee of eight attorneys general leading the probe.

He said part of their goal is to determine if Google is acting as a monopoly.

“What we have seen over the last several years is Google has consolidated its place in the market,” he said.

He’s also worried about the company’s data collection practices.

“What they’re doing is collecting detailed information on anyone that uses the internet,” he said.

“They’re using that information to manipulate everything from your news feeds, to advertising rates, to things that you see or don’t see on the internet.”

Ultimately, Brnovich said, it comes down to a question of if Google has too much power.

“You have one company that has the ability to literally, by changing its algorithm, to make or break any website, or any business,” he said.

He said he’s not sure what the outcome could be, but he doesn’t feel like issuing fines is enough to curb harmful behavior.

Europe’s antitrust regulators slapped Google with a $1.7 billion fine in March for unfairly inserting exclusivity clauses into contracts with advertisers, disadvantaging rivals in the online ad business.

“That’s just the cost of doing business,” Brnovich said. “And they’ll pay their fine … it’s a relatively minor part of their business, and they move on.”

One outcome antitrust regulators might explore is forcing Google to spin off search as a separate company, experts say.

Regulators also could focus on areas such as Google’s popular video site YouTube, an acquisition it scored in 2006.

California and Alabama are the only states not part of the investigation, which was announced Monday.

Google is headquartered in California and employs more workers there than in any other region. The company also broke ground last year on a $600 million data-center project in Alabama.

Mesa City Council approved a development agreement in July to have Google build a $1 billion data center in the city within five years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake speaks at the Republican National Convention in ...

Watch: Exclusive interview with Kari Lake after RNC speech from Arizona US Senate hopeful

Watch Kari Lake in an exclusive interview from radio row at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

26 minutes ago

Arizona congressional candidate Blake Masters, right, spoke to KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mike Broomhead...

Kevin Stone

Arizona GOP congressional hopeful Blake Masters calls for ‘millions and millions’ of deportations

Arizona Republican Blake Masters congressional candidate is calling for “millions and millions” of deportations.

55 minutes ago

Arizona needs more funds to fight extreme heat and wildfire smoke...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona AG advocates for FEMA to address extreme heat and wildfire smoke

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes led a group of attorneys urging FEMA to recognize extreme heat and wildfire smoke as major disasters.

2 hours ago

Kari Lake and election integrity were hot topics for out-of-state Republican National Convention at...

Danny Shapiro

Kari Lake, election integrity top of mind for out-of-state RNC attendees on Arizona politics

Arizona's Kari Lake has dominated the meeting circles of out-of-state attendees at this week's Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

6 hours ago

Grand Canyon National Park to undergo water conservation...

Bailey Leasure

Grand Canyon National Park to undergo water conservation following waterline failure

Grand Canyon National Park will implement mandatory water conservation following a failure at the Trans Canyon Waterline.

6 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Arizona AG joins multistate antitrust investigation into Google