The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a second antitrust lawsuit against Google, targeting the search giant’s advertising empire. The suit, filed on Monday, seeks to break up the company’s ad business, which the DOJ claims have stifled competition and hurt small businesses.
This is the second major antitrust lawsuit the DOJ has filed against Google in recent years. In October, the department filed a suit against the company over its search and search advertising practices. However, the new suit specifically focuses on the company’s ad business, which the DOJ claims has become a “monopoly gatekeeper” for the online ad industry.
According to the suit, Google controls roughly 80% of the online search advertising market and roughly 70% of the online display advertising market. The suit also claims that the company has used its dominance in these markets to stifle competition and harm small businesses.
“Google’s ad business is so big, so dominant, and so controlling of the online ad market that it has become a gatekeeper, deciding which businesses and entrepreneurs can succeed and which ones can’t,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen in a press conference announcing the suit. “This lawsuit is about ensuring that every business, big or small, has an equal chance to succeed in the online ad market.”
The suit also accuses Google of entering into exclusive contracts with large companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, which have prevented smaller businesses from competing. Additionally, the suit claims that Google has used its market power to force businesses to pay higher prices for advertising, and has also limited the amount of data that businesses can access in order to make informed decisions about where to advertise.
In response to the suit, Google has denied any wrongdoing and has promised to defend itself against the charges. “We will strongly defend ourselves against these unsupported claims in court,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a statement.
The suit is likely to face strong opposition from the tech industry, which has traditionally been a powerful force in Washington. However, the DOJ is expected to argue that breaking up Google’s ad business will create a more level playing field for small businesses and increase competition in the online ad industry.
The case is expected to take years to resolve and could have major implications for Google and the tech industry as a whole. As the online ad industry continues to grow and evolve, the outcome of this suit could shape the future of how businesses advertise online.