Antitrust Suit: US Department of Justice targets Google’s advertising business

Previous antitrust proceedings have left Google unfazed: Penalties in the EU were only spare change for Google, lawsuits in the USA are still being clarified. This could now change with a newly filed lawsuit in the USA.

The US Department of Justice, along with eight US states, filed a lawsuit against Google’s advertising business yesterday – potentially hitting Google where the money is made. The accusation is that Google is monopolising the digital advertising market and exploiting its market power.

The 139-page complaint calls on Google to divest the Google Ad Manager Suite. This includes Google’s Publisher Ad Server, Doubleclick for Publishers and Google’s Ad Exchange (AdX).

Google’s market power is said to result in up to 30 percent of advertising costs being incurred in the Google network – thus raising costs for the consumer. (Too) high costs for end consumers are traditionally an important issue in the US antitrust law and the reason why this lawsuit could become a real problem for Google.

In a first reaction, Google explains that there is very high competition in the digital advertising market and that the lawsuit misses the point. I am curious to see how this develops.

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