When it rains, it pours. Big tech antitrust lawsuits, that is.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that Texas is filing a lawsuit against Google for monopolistic business practices. The Texas AG website later published the suit, naming nine other states as co-plaintiffs. Paxton accused Google of taking advantage of its market dominance by demanding an unfair cut of revenue from publishers that place Google ad modules on their websites, as well as manipulating ad prices and undermining competition by colluding with Google rival Facebook.
Google said it plans to “strongly defend” itself in court. The company claims that it faces plenty of competition in providing ad services.
“Attorney General Paxton’s ad tech claims are meritless, yet he’s gone ahead in spite of all the facts,” a Google spokesperson said via email. “We’ve invested in state-of-the-art ad tech services that help businesses and benefit consumers. Digital ad prices have fallen over the last decade. Ad tech fees are falling too. Google’s ad tech fees are lower than the industry average. These are the hallmarks of a highly competitive industry.”
This is the second antitrust lawsuit Google faces. In October, the federal government and 11 states jointly filed a suit against Google for the contracts it brokered with Android manufacturers, Apple, and others to make Google the default search engine on Safari and other browsers. Google vehemently disputes the claim.
Google isn’t alone in its troubles. Last week, the federal government and states sued Facebook for violating antitrust law by crushing competition through acquisitions. They called for Facebook to divest ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp. Apple and Amazon are also under investigation.
In a video announcing the lawsuit, Paxton said “if the free market were a baseball game, Google positioned itself as the pitcher, the batter, and the umpire.” That refers to the allegation, expanded upon in the lawsuit, that Google managing display ad space for publishers (like newspapers), ad space purchasing for advertisers (like brands), and managing the digital ad exchange marketplace itself, makes it a middleman with unchecked power.
This internet Goliath used its power to manipulate the market, destroy competition, and harm YOU, the consumer. Stay tuned… pic.twitter.com/fdEVEWQb0e
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) December 16, 2020
Attorneys general in Colorado and Nebraska are reportedly filing a suit against Google for giving competitors with their own search functions (like Amazon or Yelp) less prime placement than Google’s own results, according to Politico.
The other states signed on to the Texas lawsuit are Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah. It charges that Google has committed “antitrust evils, and it seeks to ensure that Google won’t be evil anymore.”
UPDATE: Dec. 16, 2020, 7:44 p.m. EST This article has been updated with additional information from the Texas lawsuit.
ที่มา : Mashable