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Bloomberg: Ohio, Wisconsin AGs Weigh Google Antitrust Probes

As the DOJ continues its review of Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software, and the European Commission continues a broader antitrust probe of Google, Bloomberg reports that Google also “faces possible antitrust probes by Ohio and Wisconsin over its business practices” in this must-read article. Sara Forden and Brian Womack report that:

“Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is ‘evaluating the facts to determine if it’s something we want to review,’ Dan Tierney, his spokesman, said.”

“In Wisconsin, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is weighing a probe of Google’s bid to buy ITA Software Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the process isn’t public.”

The article also reveals that 15 state attorneys general “informally discussed the possibility of Google investigations at a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington this month.” Remember, Texas has been investigating Google since last summer. And don’t forget the mounting concerns from other government officials and consumer advocates (the article cites Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, the American Antitrust Institute, Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).

The report comes just days after a federal judge rejected Google’s proposed Books settlement on grounds that the company’s proposal raised copyright, antitrust and privacy concerns. Commenting on the ruling, Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson told the AP: “Google has built a monopoly in search, and having a monopoly isn’t necessarily illegal. The question is once you are in a monopoly position, how do you use it? I think Google has repeatedly abused it, and that come out in this decision.”