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US government takes on Google over its dominance of ad-tech sector
By our News Team | 2023
The Department of Justice is seeking a breakup of Google’s business that brokers digital advertising across much of the internet.
In a case that may have major implications for the advertising-technology industry, the US Department of Justice this week filed a lawsuit against Google and its parent company Alphabet.
The department is seeking a breakup of Google’s business that brokers digital advertising across much of the internet. The lawsuit alleges that the company’s dominance of the sector constitutes anti-competitive conduct.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
“For 15 years Google has pursued a course of anti-competitive conduct that has allowed it to halt the rise of rival technologies, manipulate auction mechanics, insulate itself from competition, and forced advertisers and publishers to use its tools,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference on Tuesday (24 January 2023).
“Google has engaged in exclusionary conduct that has severely weakened if not destroyed competition in the ad-tech industry.”
The suit further alleges that Google is “engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and brokers to facilitate digital advertising”.
Government ‘cannot pick winners and losers’
But Google has hit back by saying it is not up to the Federal government to decide which companies win and which ones don’t. It said the lawsuit “attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector”.
“[Department of Justice] is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, raise advertising fees and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow,” a company spokesperson stated.
According to the respected Wall Street Journal newspaper, the filing promises a protracted court battle with wide-ranging implications for the digital-advertising industry.
“The lawsuit asks the court to unwind Google’s ‘anti-competitive acquisitions’, such as its 2008 purchase of ad-serving company DoubleClick, and calls for the divestiture of its ad exchange,” the Journal added.
The Department of Justice has also filed another lawsuit against Google for alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the online search market.
You can read the full Department of Justice press release regarding the latest lawsuit here.
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