January 26, 2023

Trust-Busting Google

The Justice Department launches another antitrust lawsuit against the world’s biggest tech bully.

Google has been slapped with a second antitrust suit by the Justice Department, this time Joe Biden’s version, alleging that the Big Tech giant is engaging in unlawful monopolistic dominance of the digital advertising marketplace.

The lawsuit alleges that Google “has corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and brokers, to facilitate digital advertising,” and “having inserted itself into all aspects of the digital advertising marketplace” is using “anticompetitive, exclusionary and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.” In other words, Google has effectively gained such monopolistic control over the online advertising sector that it can force advertisers into using only its tools in order to ply their trade online.

Eight states have joined the DOJ in the suit: California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia. They argue that “Google’s exclusionary, anticompetitive acts have severely weakened, if not destroyed, competition in the ad tech industry.”

The numbers appear to back up the lawsuit’s allegations, as 80% of Google’s third-quarter revenue last year, totaling $54.5 billion, came from its digital advertising business. And that total was up a billion dollars over the prior year.

In October 2020, Donald Trump’s DOJ raised the first antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant, a suit that is still working its way through the court process. On top of these DOJ-initiated lawsuits, Google also faces three other antitrust suits raised by several state attorneys general.

The tech giant’s stifling of competition appears to be finally catching up to it, as NBC News reports that “even one of Google’s own advertising executives questioned the wisdom of Google’s broad ownership in the space.” According to that executive: “Is there a deeper issue with us owning the platform, the exchange, and a huge network? The analogy would be if Goldman or Citibank owned the [New York Stock Exchange].”

As with any monopoly, the freedom necessary for the health and continuing development of a free market economy is made into a mockery. Monopolies give capitalism an undeserved bad reputation.

The DOJ lawsuit also serves to demonstrate a rare occasion where conservatives and the Biden administration agree on a problem. “There’s not much the Biden administration is doing right,” says Mike Davis, founder of the Internet Accountability Project, “but enforcement of federal antitrust laws is one area on which we agree. Big Tech monopolists like Google have far too much control over the digital ad market because they engage in unfair, anticompetitive and illegal practices.”

They certainly have, and hopefully this lawsuit will lead to severely limiting Google’s squelching of the free market and in turn speech-stifling practices.

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