DOJ reportedly preparing new Google antitrust case

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The Department of Justice is readying an antitrust lawsuit against Google aimed at the search giant’s role in the ad tech market, multiple outlets have reported.

While a filing is not imminent, according to a Politico report, the agency could move forward with the case before President Biden’s pick to run the DOJ’s antitrust team makes it through the Senate.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta would reportedly make the final call if Jonathan Kanter is not yet confirmed.

The new case will focus on how Google has built up its dominance in digital advertising, Bloomberg first reported, and how it has used that position to maintain power.

A spokesperson for Google defended the company’s involvement in digital advertising, saying its technologies “help websites and apps fund their content, enable small businesses to grow, and protect users from exploitative privacy practices and bad ad experiences.”

“There is enormous competition in advertising tools, which has made online ads more relevant, reduced fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers,” they added.

The DOJ first began investigating Google in the fall of 2019.

In October of last year, the agency sued Google alleging it is illegally maintaining a monopoly in the search market.

This new case would reportedly focus on online display and video ads, a multibillion-dollar market that Google controls a huge share of. 

The company has acquired companies at every step of the online advertising process, including auction platforms for both marketers and publishers. 

A group of state attorneys general led by Texas filed a lawsuit accusing Google of abusing competition in digital advertising late last year.

The DOJ declined to comment.

Updated at 4:14 p.m.

Tags antitrust Attorney general Big tech Department of Justice DOJ Google Joe Biden Merrick Garland

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