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A dozen states might join the DOJ's antitrust lawsuit against Google

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Jon Fingas,
September 12, 2020
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 31: People wear protective face masks outside the Google offices in Chelsea as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 31, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
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The Justice Department’s expected antitrust lawsuit against Google could have added momentum behind it. Bloomberg sources that “about” a dozen states are poised to join the case. The tipsters didn’t provide a full list, but Texas is believed to be a candidate even as it conducts a state-level investigation.

Whether or not states hop aboard will depend on how they react to the lawsuit. They reportedly haven’t seen the full complaint, and some might balk depending on the scope of the case. States might not want to include Android alongside search and internet concerns for fear of making the lawsuit overly broad, the claimed insiders said.

Different states reportedly have different reasons for signing on, and participating wouldn’t necessarily prevent them from pursuing other investigations. Democrat-led states may file their own lawsuit in the “coming months” over aspects the DOJ doesn’t cover, according to the sources.

We’ve asked Google for comment.

If these states (and potentially others) join the lawsuit, it could represent one of the largest antitrust actions since the case against Microsoft in 1998. That case ultimately involved 18 states and DC, and led to significant changes to Microsoft’s business. There’s no certainty Google will face a similar outcome, but the involvement of a dozen states suggests there’s a lot of pressure to limit the internet giant’s influence even without throwing Congress into the mix.

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