Ten states sue Google for abusing market power on advertising

Friday, December 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Google. Photo/Courtesy

Texas and nine other states sued Google on Wednesday, accusing it of illegally working with Facebook to boost its already-dominant online advertising business.

Ken Paxton: “This goliath of a company is using its power to manipulate the market...”

The antitrust lawsuit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who said in a Facebook video that Google “eliminated its competition and crowned itself the king of online advertising.”

Paxton: “Google repeatedly used its monopolistic power to control pricing (and) engage in market collusions to rig auctions in a tremendous violation of justice.”

Texas, backed by nine other states, filed a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc-owned Google on Wednesday, accusing it of breaking antitrust law in how it runs its online advertising business.

The nine states that joined Texas are Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah and Idaho.

Baseless claims

Google called the Texas lawsuit “meritless” and said: “We will strongly defend ourselves from his baseless claims in court.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Texas lawsuit is the second major complaint from regulators against Google and the fourth in a series of federal and state lawsuits aimed at reining in alleged bad behavior by Big Tech platforms.

The states asked Google, which is owned by Alphabet and controls a third of the global online advertising industry, to compensate them for damages and is seeking “structural relief,” which is usually interpreted as forcing a company to divest some of its assets.

Antitrust lawsuit

Wednesday’s action also raises the legal stakes for Google, which is now expected to face a third antitrust lawsuit from another group of attorneys general on Thursday, according to a source familiar with the matter, over anticompetitive behaviour. - Reuters

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