DALLAS (AP) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday announced a multistate lawsuit against Google, accusing the search giant of “anti-competitive conduct” in the online advertising industry.
Paxton said Google is using its “monopolistic power” to control pricing of online advertisements, fixing the market in its favor and eliminating competition. His office released a redacted copy of a federal lawsuit, but it was not immediately clear if it had been filed in court.
“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 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.”
Texas is bringing the suit along with Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah, according to the complaint released by Paxton’s office.
Paxton’s move comes after the U.S. Justice Department sued Google in October for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising – the government’s most significant attempt to buttress competition since its historic case against Microsoft two decades ago.