Investigation would add additional scrutiny to an industry already under a federal spotlight

A group of state attorneys general is preparing to move forward with a joint antitrust investigation of big technology companies, according to people familiar with the situation, adding another layer of scrutiny to an industry already under a federal spotlight.

The effort is expected to be formally launched as soon as next month, the people said, and is likely to focus on whether a handful of dominant tech platforms use their marketplace powers to stifle competition.

As part of the probe, the state attorneys are likely to issue civil investigative demands, similar to subpoenas, to tech giants and other firms, the people said.

They said the new investigation could dovetail with plans by the U.S. Justice Department, which last month announced its own antitrust review that will focus on tech companies including Alphabet Inc. ’s Google unit and Facebook Inc.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June that a number of attorneys general were considering launching a probe into antitrust concerns surrounding Big Tech.

As that effort moves toward a formal investigation, representatives of about a dozen states attorneys general, including Republicans and Democrats, met with top Justice Department officials in Washington in July to discuss concerns about lack of competition in the tech industry, according to people familiar with the meeting.

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John D. McKinnon and Brent Kendall – Wll Street Journal – August 19, 2019.

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