U.S. DOJ Files New Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

In a little over 2 years, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed its second antitrust lawsuit against Google, this time targeting the search engine giant’s advertising business (via CNBC).

Google

The new lawsuit is focused on the company’s online advertising business and seeks to make Google divest parts of the business.

This antitrust suit, the news of which brought Google shares down 1.3% earlier today, is the first against the company filed under the Biden administration.

The states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia have already joined DOJ in the latest lawsuit.

According to Google, its advertising business generated $54.5 billion in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 from Search, YouTube, and other advertising.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department and the states argue that Google sought to control all sides of the market, realizing “it could become ‘the be-all, and end-all location for all ad serving.’”

“Google would no longer have to compete on the merits; it could simply set the rules of the game to exclude rivals,” they allege.

The harm of Google’s practices, they allege, is that “website creators earn less, and advertisers pay more.

Another part of Google’s strategy, the complaint alleges, was to acquire other companies to grow its power in the advertising market and “set the stage for Google’s later exclusionary conduct across the ad tech industry.”

Those acquisitions included a 2008 purchase of publisher ad server DoubleClick and a “nascent ad exchange” that would become Google’s AdX.

The DOJ’s earlier lawsuit from 2020 accused Google of using its alleged monopoly power to cut off competition for internet search through exclusionary agreements.

That case is set to go on trial in September.