The US Department of Justice today filed a federal lawsuit against Google for abusing its dominant position in the online advertising market.
In October 2020the DOJ also sued Google for violating antitrust laws and asked the company to “restore competition to the search and search advertising markets.”
Today, the DOJ has also been joined by eight states: Virginia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
“Competition in the ad tech space is broken, for reasons that were neither accidental nor unavoidable,” the trial reads.
“An industry giant, Google, has corrupted legitimate competition in the ad-tech 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 all aspects of the digital advertising market, Google has used anti-competitive, exclusionary and illegal means to eliminate or significantly reduce any threat to its dominance in digital advertising technologies.”
Justice Department sues Google for monopolizing digital advertising technologies
Through serial acquisitions and manipulation of anti-competitive auctions, Google has knocked down the competition in Internet advertising technologieshttps://t.co/0bwDlmWXaP
— Department of Justice (@TheJusticeDept) January 24, 2023
The US government alleges that Google used acquisitions of other companies in the advertising market to eliminate competitors and forced advertisers and publishers to use its services by using its control over ad technology services.
Google now controls the technology most major web publishers use to sell ad space, the tools advertisers use to buy ad space, and the most important ad exchange designed to match advertisers and publishers when advertising space is sold.
“Google is abusing its monopoly power to disadvantage website publishers and advertisers who dare to use competing ad technology products in the search for higher quality or lower cost matches,” today’s filing said.
“Google is using its dominance in digital advertising technology to funnel more transactions into its own ad technology products where it extracts inflated fees to line its own pockets at the expense of the advertisers and publishers it is supposed to serve.”
When asked to comment, a Google spokesperson told BleepingComputer that the lawsuit lacks merit and that the DOJ’s “flawed argument” would hinder innovation and growth.
“Today’s DOJ lawsuit attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive ad-tech industry. It largely replicates a unfounded lawsuit by the Texas Attorney General, much of which was recently fired in federal court,” BleepingComputer said.
“The DOJ is doubling down on a flawed argument that would slow innovation, increase advertising costs, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.”
Justice asks to break the advertising monopoly
The court was asked to order the winding up of Google’s advertising business to remove the company’s grip on the market and allow for “structural relief”.
“Order the divestiture, at a minimum, of the Google Ad Manager suite, including Google’s publisher ad server, DFP, and Google’s ad exchange, AdX, and any additional structural relief necessary to remedy to any anti-competitive harm,” the lawsuit asks.
This is not the first time that Google has been accused of abusing its dominant position in the online advertising market.
Google was 4.34 billion euros fine four years ago, in July 2018, for using its control over the Android operating system to increase its search engine’s dominance in the mobile advertising market.
In 2017, he was fined $2.72 billion for abusing its dominant market position to alter search results, $1.7 billion for anti-competitive practices in online advertising in 2019, and an additional €220 million for favoring its services over competitors two years later, in June 2021.
Updated to add Google statement.