In an industry that continues to be in the legal spotlight, major tech companies may now be facing a joint antitrust investigation from over a dozen states. According to the Wall Street Journal, state attorneys general might be launching the investigation as early as next month. If it comes to light, these states could be looking into whether or not these tech giants are using their dominant market position to hurt competition—a question both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are looking to answer as well.
Four companies likely to be at the forefront of the investigation are Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. As part of the probe, the states could issue civil investigative demands, or civilian subpoenas, to tech companies and other businesses. But an antitrust investigation of this size could take years to see any legal action.
The estimated 20-or-so states have not compiled an exact plan just yet, and details are still being discussed, per a senior attorney who spoke anonymously, according to the NY Times. Although, several states did form a bipartisan months ago called the “Tech Industry Working Group.”
“As attorneys general, we need to evaluate and address specific conduct, utilizing our existing antitrust and consumer protection laws,” Jim Hood, the attorney general of Mississippi, a Democrat, said in a statement. He added that the working group was “looking at the intersection of technology and antitrust.”
Amazon and Facebook declined to comment, but Apple and Google referenced prior comments in which they argued that they indeed face competition, and that they have created an environment that benefits customers.