Texas AG announces multistate lawsuit against Google

FILE - In this June 22, 2017, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a news conference in Dallas. Records reviewed by The Associated Press show that an exclusive group of Texans stood to benefit when Paxton, urged a small Colorado county to reverse a public health order during the coronavirus outbreak. Paxton this month told Gunnison County that banning Texans from their property in Colorado during the outbreak was unconstitutional.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
FILE - In this June 22, 2017, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a news conference in Dallas. Records reviewed by The Associated Press show that an exclusive group of Texans stood to benefit when Paxton, urged a small Colorado county to reverse a public health order during the coronavirus outbreak. Paxton this month told Gunnison County that banning Texans from their property in Colorado during the outbreak was unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DALLAS – Ten states on Wednesday brought a lawsuit against Google, accusing the search giant of “anti-competitive conduct" in the online advertising industry, including a deal to manipulate sales with rival Facebook.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the suit, which was filed in a federal court in Texas, saying Google is using its “monopolistic power” to control pricing of online advertisements, fixing the market in its favor and eliminating competition.

“This Goliath of a company is using its power to manipulate the market, destroy competition, and harm you, the consumer,” Paxton said in the video posted on Twitter.

Google, which is based in Mountain View, California, called Paxton's claims "meritless" and said the price of online advertising has fallen over the last decade.

“These are the hallmarks of a highly competitive industry,” the company said in statement. "We will strongly defend ourselves from (Paxton's) baseless claims in court.”

Paxton led a bipartisan coalition of 50 U.S. states and territories that announced in September 2019 they were investigating Google’s business practices, citing “potential monopolistic behavior.”

Now Texas is bringing the suit along other Republican attorneys general from Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah.

The complaint targets the heart of Google’s business — the digital ads that generate nearly all of its revenue, as well as all the money that its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., depends upon to help finance a range of far-flung technology projects.