The DOJ sues Google for its dominance in the online advertising market | CNN Business
The Justice Department and eight states sued Google on Tuesday, accusing the company of harming competition with its dominance of the online advertising market and calling for its breakup.
The move marks the Biden administration’s first antitrust case against a Big Tech company. The eight states joining the suit include California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.
The new complaint significantly increases the risks for Google emanating from Washington, where lawmakers and regulators have often raised concerns about the tech giant’s power but have so far failed to pass new laws or regulations that could control the company or its affiliates. mates.
For years, Google’s critics have argued that the company’s broad role in the ecosystem that allows advertisers to place ads and publishers to offer digital ad space represents a conflict of interest that Google has exploited anti-competitive manner.
In Tuesday’s complaint, a copy of which was seen by CNN, the Justice Department alleged that Google actively and illegally maintained that domain by engaging in a campaign to thwart competition. Google gobbled up rivals through anti-competitive mergers, the US government said, and intimidated publishers and advertisers into using the company’s proprietary ad technology products.
As part of the lawsuit, the US government asked that Google be dissolved and that the court order the company to at least spin off its online advertising exchange and ad server for publishers, if not month.
According to the US government, Google “has corrupted legitimate competition in the ad technology industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to take control of the wide range of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and brokers to facilitate digital advertising”. Having inserted itself into every aspect of the digital advertising market, Google has used anti-competitive, exclusionary and illegal means to eliminate or seriously diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Tuesday’s lawsuit is the federal government’s second antitrust complaint against Google since 2020, when the Trump administration sued over Google’s alleged anticompetitive harms in search and search advertising. This case is still ongoing. Google has also been the target of antitrust litigation by state and private actors.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tuesday’s complaint also marks an initial salvo against Big Tech by DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter. Kanter has spent months laying the groundwork for a broader offensive against the tech industry’s most dominant companies, mirroring commitments by President Joe Biden and others in the U.S. government to hold powerful companies accountable. Under Kanter, Justice Department antitrust officials have pushed to bring more cases to trial, as well as to prosecute cases involving unconventional legal theories.
In 2020, House lawmakers released a 450-page report that found Google, along with Amazon, Apple and Facebook, have “monopoly power” in key business segments. The report was the result of a 16-month investigation in which congressional staff reviewed corporate documents and interviewed the technology industry’s many customers and rivals. He concluded, among other things, that Google was uniquely positioned to benefit from its powerful role in the online advertising industry.
“With a significant share of the ad exchange market and ad intermediary market, and as a leading provider of ad space, Google simultaneously acts on behalf of publishers and advertisers, while also trading for itself,” the report said.
Third-party estimates suggest that Google and Facebook (now known as Meta) accounted for the majority of U.S. digital ad revenue through 2017, with Google taking about a third of the market. Since then, however, others, including Amazon, have begun to encroach on this business.
The US complaint echoes concerns that have prompted similar antitrust investigations in the United Kingdom and the European Union.