April 20, 2024

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google for allegedly monopolizing digital advertising technology as of late January.

The complaint claimed that Google has been deliberately dominating the digital advertising technology market by buying out competitors to neutralize or eliminate them.

In the DOJ’s statement issued Jan. 24, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said the DOJ will do everything it can to ensure that the free market is free for all and not controlled by a monopoly, no matter what the industry in question is.

“(The Jan. 24) complaint alleges that Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary and unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” Garland said. “No matter the industry and no matter the company, the Justice Department will vigorously enforce our antitrust laws to protect consumers, safeguard competition and ensure economic fairness and opportunity for all.”

Some of Google’s alleged conduct in dispute includes buying out competitors, forcing website publishers to adopt Google’s tools, distorting auction competition and manipulating the auctions, according to the statement.

“(Google has been) limiting real-time bidding on publisher inventory to its ad exchange, and impeding rival ad exchanges’ ability to compete on the same terms as Google’s ad exchange,” the DOJ said in its statement. “(They have also been) manipulating auction mechanics across several of its products to insulate Google from competition, deprive rivals of scale and halt the rise of rival
technologies.”

Jessica Dreschler, junior civil engineering major, said she thinks Google should sponsor small companies instead of completely taking them over.

“That makes me lose a lot of trust in Google,” Dreschler said. “I think they should be supporting small businesses and helping small businesses grow. Google already has a name for itself and it will be successful no matter what.”

Rhett Daniel, senior business administration major said he thinks it is not surprising that Google would monopolize the digital advertising market, or any market it can.

“Sounds like a power move to me,” Daniel said. “From a moral standpoint, it’s not good, but from a
business standpoint, it’s good in that sense.. A lot of people don’t have moral lines anymore. When you get that big in the business, things like that are obviously going to happen. But if you can do something about it, cool.”

This is not the first lawsuit against the tech giant for monopolizing online advertising, as a similar but distinct suit was filed in 2020 for monopolizing search and search advertising.

In addition to the DOJ, the attorneys general of eight states will be participating in the lawsuit, including the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York and Tennessee. The trial will take place in September.

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