The Justice Department and eight state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against Google in federal court Tuesday because what they said is the company’s monopoly on the technology used in digital advertising.
This is separate from (but is similar to) another Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit the company is facing, which began in 2020 over its dominance in Searchwhich is currently in federal court in New York, per Bloomberg.
“In the pursuit of outrageous profits, Google has wreaked havoc on online publishers and advertisers and American consumers. This lawsuit marks an important milestone in the Department’s efforts to hold major technology companies accountable for violations of antitrust laws,” said deputy attorney general. general at the DOJ Lisa O. Monaco, in a press release.
Tuesday’s complaint accuses Google of restricting competition in the digital ad technology industry and creating an illegal monopoly.
Google has tried to eliminate opponents through acquisition and forced consumers to use its products because of its presence in digital advertising, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks to force Google to sell its digital advertising technology business, and also seeks damages for overcharging government agencies.
Google and other big tech companies have faced a rise in antitrust concerns around the world – a unique area of bipartisan agreement in the US, such as POLITICO noted. For example, the company faced a lawsuit over its app store, for which it agreed to pay $90 million.
This particular lawsuit concerns the so-called “ad tech stack,” which is Google’s set of tools that customers use to advertise online.
According to to the complaintGoogle controls the technology used to list and buy digital ad spots, as well as the system that connects digital ad space to different advertisers when ads are sold online.
This would be if, as a Google employee quoted in the lawsuit puts it, “if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE.”
As per the name, these tools are things like Google Ads and Google Ad Manager Insider intelligence. All of these tools are also purposefully tightly integrated to make it hard not to buy into the whole ecosystem — “a great defense against competition,” the analysis added.