Federal Judge Rejects Google Bid to Toss Antitrust Suit Alleging Monopoly in Online Ads

A U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Virginia has denied Google’s motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit that accuses Google of operating an unfair monopoly in online advertising.

The lawsuit alleges the Mountain View-based technology giant “leverages control over the technologies through which web display ads are bought and sold, driving out competition and receiving profits that far exceed what could be sustained in a competitive market.”

“This scheme disproportionately hurts advertisers, small businesses, website creators, and consumers, and deters innovation in the ad tech industry,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a statement on April 28. Bonta is part of a coalition led by the U.S. Justice Department that brought the antitrust lawsuit.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to move this case forward so that Google may face accountability,” said Bonta. “Google’s anticompetitive practices and obsessive need for control of ad tech markets has not only inflated prices, but has stifled creativity in a space where innovation is crucial.”

“It is in California’s best interest to ensure that creativity, innovation, and competition in technology are protected,” the attorney general said in a statement. “We look forward to making our case in court on behalf of California consumers.”

California is involved in a number of cases against tech firms.

In March 2023, a federal judge, ruling in another lawsuit filed against the company in 2021, sanctioned Google for its destruction of evidence for anticompetitive practices related to the Google Play Store. Bonta had first alerted the court to Google’s attempts to subvert discovery in late 2022 and has subsequently updated the court with additional examples of Google’s misconduct.

Bonta said his office stands firm in “protecting competition in the marketplace, fair prices, and California families through a number of actions nationwide involving companies in the technology industry.”

His office sued Amazon in September 2022, alleging that the company stifled competition and increased prices across California through anticompetitive contracting practices in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Cartwright Act. The court recently denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss that case and unsealed additional evidence of antitrust violations.

In November 2022, Bonta announced settlements with Google and iHeartMedia resolving allegations that Google paid DJs, predominately at iHeartMedia, to offer misleading personal endorsements of the Google Pixel 4 cell phone.


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