Further competition lawsuit by the US government against Google

For a long time, online giants in the USA had an easy time with competition control. But a different wind is now blowing in Washington. Google is now increasingly feeling the effects.

The U.S. government's competition watchdogs are stepping up the pressure on Google with a second lawsuit. This time they are accusing the Internet giant of unfair competition in the online advertising market. In the statement of claim published on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice demands, among other things, a breakup of Google's business unit, in which advertising technology is bundled.

Google has resorted to anti-competitive and illegal methods to eliminate any threat to its own dominance of the online advertising market, it said. Among other things, the Internet company bought up potential rivals at an early stage, according to the accusation. As a result of Google's actions, website operators earn less and advertising customers have to pay more, criticized the Ministry of Justice. In the end, this hurts everyone.

Google countered that with its lawsuit, the Justice Department was trying to "pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector." It relies on flawed reasoning that would slow innovation, increase advertising fees and make it harder for thousands of small businesses to grow, the group criticized.

The lawsuit focuses on the so-called "ad tech" market - primarily the technologies for auctions, in which ad space is auctioned off in the shortest possible time before a web page is displayed to the user.

Intervention by the U.S. government had been on the horizon for some time. The Wall Street Journal reported last summer that Google had offered the Justice Department a concession to spin off its "ad tech" division into a separate company. According to the report, however, it was to remain a Google sister company under the umbrella of the group's holding company Alphabet - and thus the government's concession did not go far enough.

In the first lawsuit in the fall of 2020, the U.S. government accused Google of violating competition rules in the online search business during the time of President Donald Trump. It was said that the company was making deals with smartphone providers and network operators to give its search engine a special position. Google rejects the accusations. The trial in the case is scheduled to begin this year. (SDA)

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