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Justice Department wants to disrupt Google’s advertising business

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The United States Department of Justice, on Tuesday, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google ultimately looking to disrupt the internet giant’s lucrative digital ad technology business.

Over the past 15 years, Google has engaged in “anti-competitive, exclusionary, and illegal” practices that have caused the company to “seriously undermine if not destroy competition in the ad technology industry.” “, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Filed with several states in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the lawsuit alleges that Google violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by manipulating three key elements of the advertising technology market. fox.

First, the lawsuit says that Google controls technology used by nearly every major website publisher to provide ad space for sale. Second, it says Google controls the top tool used by advertisers to purchase that ad space. Third, it accuses the company of unfairly controlling the largest ad exchange that matches advertisers and publishers.

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As a result, Garland said, “website creators make less money and advertisers pay more. That means fewer publishers can provide internet users with content without registration, wall fees or other forms of monetization are required.”

The nearly 150-page lawsuit cites numerous Google executives and employees to demonstrate that Google acted unfairly and illegally. For example, it noted that in late 2016 a Google digital advertising executive asked, “What’s more serious about our own platform, exchange, and network?” is it giant? [for advertising]? Likewise if Goldman or Citibank owned the New York Stock Exchange.”

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter responded on Tuesday, “Yes, there’s actually a deeper issue and that problem is the Sherman Antitrust Act.”

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In response to the DOJ’s allegations, a Google spokesperson said in a statement that the lawsuit “attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology arena.”

The company notes that the DOJ’s arguments are similar to those of the Texas attorney general in a lawsuit remove part. Those arguments “will slow innovation, increase advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to thrive,” the spokesperson said.

The DOJ is seeking damages for Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices, as well as the divestment of several ad technology products. Additionally, the department is seeking an injunction preventing Google from continuing to engage in the anticompetitive practices described in the complaint.

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