Several U.S. states join Texas lawsuit against Google

Alaska, Florida, Montana, Nevada, and Puerto Rico have joined a lawsuit filed by Texas and others against Google, which accuse it of breaking antitrust law to boost its already dominant online advertising business, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit was one of five filed last year by the federal government or states against two big tech platforms, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc .

“Our coalition looks forward to holding Google accountable for its illegal conduct and reforming Google’s practices in the future. And we are confident Google will be forced to pay for its misconduct through significant financial penalties,” Paxton said in the statement.

Google has asked for the Texas federal court to move the case to California, where it is fighting similar cases. This is to be discussed in a hearing on Thursday.

The lawsuit accuses Google of violating the law in how it dominates the steps in the process of placing digital advertising. Publishers complain that one result has been lower revenues. Google has denied wrongdoing.

Concern generally about the power of Big Tech, including Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc, in the U.S. economy and in the political sphere has prompted calls for tougher regulation, including more money for enforcers, as well as tougher antitrust law.

Google has pushed back on the allegations.

In response to the Texas-led complaint, a spokesperson for Google at the time said “Attorney General [Ken] Paxton’s ad tech claims are meritless.”

“We will strongly defend ourselves from his baseless claims in court,” the spokesperson said.

Between the two state-led lawsuits and the Justice Department effort, every state except Alabama has joined a legal effort targeting Google.

Congress is also weighing options to address what some lawmakers see as an abuse of online market power. The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, which released a report last year accusing Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon of stifling competition, is holding a series of hearings on the issue.

The next House antitrust hearing will be held on Thursday.

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