Montana is joining attorneys general from around the country in an investigation into Google’s wide-ranging dominance in online markets and advertising.
Mark Mattioli, the chief Montana’s Office of Consumer Protection, says Google is so big and powerful the company has state officials concerned it is shutting down competition.
"We have been contacted by businesses that have complained about Google. Innovative businesses, particularly small businesses, feel like they’re being pushed out of the internet because Google’s dominance is so significant."
The 50-state investigation is led by Texas.
Mattioli says Montana will play an assisting role determined by other states leading the effort and there has not yet been a multi-state call to figure out how the 50 states will work together in the investigation.
"The problem that Google poses for the whole country isn’t any different than what it poses for Montana. We are suffering from the same concerns. We used to think that the internet was open and transparent and free and competitive. And the purpose of this investigation is to make sure that is the case."
Plans to probe the tech giant for potential antitrust violations was first reported by the Washington Post last week.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced Monday he was joining the investigation.