US DOJ sues Google over online ad market domination; seeks to level the playing field for other firms

Launching a fresh legal battle against Google, the US justice department on Tuesday sued the search giant for its dominance of the online advertising market.

This is the second federal lawsuit filed by the DOJ against the tech giant over antitrust violations. It has been launched along with eight US states: New York, California, Rhode Island, Colorado, New Jersey, Tennessee, Connecticut and Virginia.

While the earlier case targeted Google’s “world-dominating” search engine, this one targets the platform’s advertising business.

Watch | Antitrust lawsuit slapped against Google, again! Tech giant’s ad dominance under scanner

As per AFP, prosecutors have asked for the business to be broken up so as to level the playing field for other companies.

They claim that Google “now controls” both the buy and sell side of the online ad business. This, they say, means that the website creators earn less while advertisers pay more, “all while innovation is choked by the lack of rivals.”

In 2021, Alphabet Inc’s Google generated more than $200 billion in sales from its ad dealings.

The US in its lawsuit alleges that the revenue was unlawfully maintained by a monopoly that “corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry.”

“Google has used anti-competitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” claims the suit.

The DOJ case follows state lawsuits that have alleged that Google illegally dominates online search, advertising technology market, and mobile applications on Android phones.

The company, however, denied the monopoly and said its rivals include Amazon, Facebook-owner Meta and Microsoft.

The AFP report cited a Google spokesperson who in an email said that the lawsuit “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.”

As per the company, the lawsuit by the DOJ “attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector,” the Google spokesperson said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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