A take on a wider scope than previously announced, according to a report Thursday by CNBC.by state attorneys general will
The probe was initially set to focus primarily on Google’s massive digital advertising business, which generates $138 billion a year. But investigators are reportedly preparing to delve into Google’s search and Android businesses as well.
In all, attorneys general from 48 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, are joining forces for the investigation. The office of Texas AG Ken Paxton, who’s leading the investigation, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Reached for comment, a Google spokesman pointed to a blog post published by Google SVP of Public Affairs Kent Walker, ahead of the probe’s announcement in September. “We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so,” Walker wrote.
The state AGs have already indicated that their investigation could extend beyond advertising. “Right now it’s about advertising, but the facts will lead where they lead,” Paxton said in September when the probe was announced.
Google’s search and advertising businesses have been under particular scrutiny in Europe. In March, the search giant was hit with a $1.7 billion fine from the European Commission for “abusive” online ad practices. The commission said Google exploited its dominance by restricting its rivals from placing their search ads on third-party websites.
Last year, the EU’s executive arm fined Google a record $5 billion for unfair business practices around Android, its mobile operating system. The investigation focused on Google’s deals with phone manufacturers, requiring them to preload specific Google apps and services onto Android phones.