***FOR PRINT*** Texas AG says Google withholding evidence

Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 26, 2012, 4:34am


AUSTIN (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is seeking a court order to force search engine giant Google to hand over documents in an ongoing probe over possible antitrust violations.

According to The Associated Press, Abbott filed a petition in a Texas court earlier this week, asking it to require Google to surrender additional requested documents.

The company is refusing to turn over more than 14,000 documents -- including emails and other records -- covered in formal demands by Abbott's office in July 2010 and May 2011, the AP reported.

Texas is among a handful of states -- including California, Ohio and New York -- doing full-scale investigations into the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

In September 2010, Abbott announced his office was officially looking into Google's methods for recommending websites.

The investigation was spurred by complaints that Google has abused its power as the Internet's most dominant search engine.

Such allegations were levied against the company by UK-based Foundem, New York-based SourceTool and TradeComet, and Ohio-based myTriggers.

Months later, Abbott requested information from Google about its advertising rate formula and search result rankings. Investigators with Abbott's office were looking for documents that showed "manual overriding or altering of" search result rankings.

The Attorney General's Office also wanted documents on rivals Bing and Yahoo! and any complaints about buying an ad on the search engine.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also is looking into Google's business practices.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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