Tech

Google calls out former competitors working for Texas AG in antitrust probe

Key Points
  • Google files a motion asking Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to prevent confidential business information from being disclosed as part of a multistate antitrust probe into the company.
  • In the motion, Google claims outside consultants hired to work on the probe are competitors to its business.
An employee passes the Google logo.
Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Google filed a motion Thursday asking Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to prevent confidential business from being disclosed as Paxton heads up a multistate probe into the company over possible antitrust violations.

In the motion filed Thursday, Google and its parent company, Alphabet, seek to stop Paxton from sharing "confidential business information" with outside consultants retained to work on the antitrust investigation.

Google claims two of the consultants, Cristina Caffarra and Eugene Burrus, previously worked for competitors and complainants of the company. Caffara served as a consultant to Russian search company Yandex, as well as News Corp. and Microsoft, while being a "public critic of Google," according to the motion. Burrus previously worked as an assistant general counsel at Microsoft and has represented clients in antitrust cases against Google.

The investigation, first launched in September, includes attorneys general of 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement: "We've provided millions of pages of documents in response to regulatory inquiries, and we're committed to cooperating. But this is an extraordinarily irregular arrangement and it's only fair to have assurances that our confidential business information won't be shared with competitors or vocal complainants."

The Texas attorney general's office was not immediately available for comment.

Google is also facing a separate investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that is looking into the company's dominant position in digital advertising, among other things. In July, the Department of Justice announced a broad antitrust review of tech companies.

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