The DOJ, along with 11 state attorneys general, all of them Republican, filed a case on Oct. 20 accusing Google of using anticompetitive tactics to muscle rivals out of the same space.
California would be the first Democrat-led state to join the suit. The move from State Attorney General Xavier Becerra could win over Republicans as he seeks to join President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, WSJ writes.
Becerra said that Google’s market dominance “leaves consumers and small businesses with little choice when it comes to internet search engines.”
“This lawsuit paves the way for search engine innovation with greater regard for privacy and data protection,” he said.
Becerra has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, having participated in dozens of lawsuits against his policies. Republicans have sometimes called him too partisan, but have also griped privately about the lack of Democratic participation in the lawsuits against Google before the election in November, as it seemed to them that Democrats were declining to support a Republican-led DOJ initiative.
Google is based in Mountain View, California, so the participation of Becerra’s office is a setback for the tech giant, WSJ writes.
Google has been under fire for antitrust concerns for months now. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a recent discussion with global competition officials that more states could be looking into filing lawsuits. Paxton initiated a 48-state lawsuit last year and said other states might be looking to join based on Google’s search functions and anticompetitive issues. Paxton is also looking into the tech giant’s online advertising practices, another point of contention brought up often.