The Department of Justice has filed its long-threatened antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using its adtech to create a monopoly. The suit seeks to force the tech giant get rid of its ad businesses and stop the company from engaging in allegedly anticompetitive practices.
“Having inserted itself into all aspects of the digital advertising marketplace, Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” the lawsuit says.
Why we care. Google simultaneously acting as broker, supplier and auctioneer of online ads has always been problematic at best. As Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) put it, “The conflicts of interest are so glaring that one Google employee described Google’s ad business as being like ‘if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE.’” Cracking down on monopolistic business practices does great things for the consumer and the economy. The breakup of AT&T in the 1980s is why communication is so inexpensive and widespread today.
In the past, Google has rebutted monopoly claims by pointing to the large number of other companies which facilitate online advertising. The company did not respond to a request for comment today.
Dig deeper: Google offers adtech unit changes to fend off antitrust lawsuit
This is the fifth antitrust lawsuit filed by state and federal officials against Google since 2020. That year a group of states led by Texas filed an antitrust lawsuit over the company’s advertising technology, while the DOJ and another group of states sued Google over claims that it abused its dominance over online search. In 2021, several states also sued over Google’s app store practices.
Dig deeper: Antitrust bill could force Google, Facebook and Amazon to shutter parts of their ad businesses
Google and other tech giants are currently under pressure from governments around the world trying to restrain their power over online information and commerce. In the European Union, Amazon, Google, Apple and others have faced antitrust investigations and charges, as well as new laws limiting the use and collection of consumer data.
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About the author
Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.