Bit by bit the dozens of attorneys general looking at Google are expanding how — along with where and why — they are examining the tech giant.
Perhaps we could call it “antitrust creep.”
News came at the end of this week that the 5o AGs who are already investigating Google are now looking to expand their probe beyond advertising and will look at search and Android, too.
CNBC reported that, according to unnamed “people familiar with the matter” the probe will embrace those new avenues. The late-week report comes on the heels of meetings some of the AGs (roughly a dozen of them) had in Colorado.
In other words, strategy might be crystalizing. The report notes that the AGs, from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, will issue subpoenas that are officially known as civil investigative demands (CIDs).
One key figure in the investigations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has reportedly said the investigations should be expanded, and his office has already issued CIDs tied to Google’s ad business.
Google has filed an order against the Texas AG, and said it wants protections from disclosing information that could benefit its rivals.
Google already faces two other investigations — one with the U.S. Justice Department looking into the company’s business practices, and one by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.
U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee representatives have said there could be a final report by early next year about Big Tech (which would include Google) and breaches of antitrust law.
The AG had said in September — upon the announcement of the investigation on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court — that “the multi-state investigation is focused solely on online advertising; however, as always, the facts we discover as the investigation progresses will determine where the investigation ultimately leads.”
Uncertainty can be a fizzle for any firm, clouding prospects and generating negative headlines. Clearly the path is getting wider, possibly longer and may be a winding one — and it’s certainly uncertain.
Amazon Echo: Smart speakers are popular — up 45 percent year over year as measured in the third quarter of 2019. Amazon Echo is the clear leader, outselling Google Home by a wide margin. Amazon has more than 36 percent of the market and sales of Echo are up nearly 66 percent year over year.
Data Sharing: The road to financial services innovation gets a bit smoother as The Clearing House debuts a model template for FinTechs and financial institutions to work together on data sharing standards and liabilities — and possibly, eliminate the screen scraping.
Money Transfers: Xoom, PayPal’s international money transfer service, said this week that customers will be able to send money to recipients in the U.S. for the first time via strategic alliances with Walmart and Ria — across 5,000 locations and spanning the roughly 44 million foreign-born people in the U.S. who send money to family and friends in their countries of origin.
Singles Day: Hard to believe, but even though Alibaba topped sales records with Singles Day, Co-Founder Jack Ma said the results were below expectations. Blame the weather — where colder temps would have spurred apparel sales — and the fact that the event fell on a Monday, he said, as the workweek intruded on sales, too.
Apple News and Subscriptions: The paid news service does not seem to be gaining traction, as it gathered 200,000 subscribers at its March launch, but the level has stayed the same since then. By way of contrast, Apple Music has 60 million subscribers.
Shipping: Trade volumes tied to China — import and exports — are slipping double digits as measured by the Port of Los Angeles. The trade war and tariffs are having an impact right into the holiday shopping season.