Justice Department and eight states sue Google, alleging it has ‘monopolistic control’ of the digital advertising market

The Justice Department, along with eight states, has filed a new antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the tech giant has engaged in anticompetitive conduct to preserve “monopoly control” over digital advertising.

The eight states joining the lawsuit are California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia. Among other things, the Department of Justice and states are seeking a ruling ordering Google to get rid of, “at a minimum, the Google Ad Manager suite, which includes both Google’s publisher ad server, DFP, and the exchange of Google Ads, AdX, along with any additional structural relief. as necessary to cure any anticompetitive damage.”

Google “has corrupted legitimate competition in the ad technology industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide range of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and brokers to facilitate digital advertising,” according to the claim filed. Tuesday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Justice Department and the states that sued Google said they are bringing legal actions “for violations of the Sherman Act to stop Google’s anticompetitive scheme, remove Google’s monopoly control of the marketplace, and restore competition in digital advertising.” , according to the demand.

Google representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s the latest legal action the DOJ has taken against Google, seeking to curb its dominance in search and advertising. In 2020, the Department of Justice filed another antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the company has a virtual monopoly on search and search advertising to the detriment of consumers and competitors.

Google has “pervasive conflicts of interest,” the latest lawsuit alleges, since it controls the technology used “by nearly all of the major website publishers to offer advertising space for sale”; the “leading tools used by advertisers to buy that ad space”; and the largest ad exchange in the industry.

Google’s “pervasive power over the entire ad-tech industry has been called into question by its own
advertising executives,” according to the suit, citing a company executive who raised the question of “is there a deeper problem with us owning the platform, the exchange and a huge network? The analogy would be if Goldman or Citibank owned the New York Stock Exchange.”

The antitrust lawsuit also alleges that “a troubling but revealing statistic proves the point: On average, Google keeps at least thirty cents, and sometimes much more, of every advertising dollar that flows from advertisers to website publishers.” through Google advertising technology tools. Google’s own internal documents admit that Google would earn much less in a competitive market.”

The DOJ and the eight states seek a court ruling that Google has “unlawfully acted to monopolize” the publisher ad server market, ad exchange market, and advertiser ad network market in the US. in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act; an order requiring the company to sell, at a minimum, “the Google Ad Manager suite, which includes both Google’s publisher ad server, DFP, and Google’s ad exchange, AdX”; and a ruling that prevents Google from “continuing to engage in the anti-competitive practices” alleged in the complaint. The suit also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

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