February 3, 2023

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The DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging a digital advertising monopoly

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The Justice Department, along with eight states, filed a new antitrust lawsuit against Google, alleging that the tech giant engaged in anticompetitive behavior to protect its “monopoly” on digital advertising.

The eight states that joined the suit are Virginia, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

“Google, a single company with massive conflicts of interest, now controls: (1) the technology used by nearly every major website publisher to offer advertising space for sale; (2) the leading tools used by advertisers to purchase that advertising space; and (3) the largest ad exchange that matches publishers with advertisers every time ad space is sold,” according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The DOJ and the states suing Google say they are “taking legal action in violation of the Sherman Act to stop Google’s anticompetitive scheme, eliminate Google’s monopoly in the market, and restore competition in digital advertising.”

Google representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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

Google’s “overwhelming power over the entire ad tech industry has been called into question by its own digital
advertising executive,” according to the latest lawsuit, citing one executive who raised the question “Is there a deeper problem with us owning platforms, exchanges and huge networks? The analogy would be if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE.”

More to come.

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