Legal & Courts  January 25, 2023

Colorado joins DOJ lawsuit against Google

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office has joined the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit that accuses Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) of operating a digital-advertising monopoly. 

“… Google’s dominant grip on the online advertising industry … allows the company to dictate how digital ads are sold and the terms under which its rivals can compete,” Weiser said in a news release. 

Eight states have signed onto the federal lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia.

The tech giant “has thwarted competition in this business sector over the past 15 years,” the release said. “It has done so, as explained in the complaint, by systematically acquiring control over key ad-tech industry tools, including the largest advertising exchange where digital ads are bought and sold, and imposing restrictions that have unfairly undermined rivals’ ability to compete. Having inserted itself into virtually every aspect of the digital advertising marketplace, Google then leverages its market power to direct more business to its own ad-tech products and undermine the ability of rivals to compete, thereby enabling it to collect higher fees for itself at the expense of both the advertisers and publishers it serves as well as consumers.”

Weiser said that Google’s conduct “has prevented meaningful competition, quashed innovation in the digital advertising industry, raised costs, and harmed consumers.”

He added: “Because Google controls many of the tools in digital advertising and takes higher fees on transactions than would be rivals, website publishers make less on advertising revenue, advertisers are forced to pay more for ad placement, and overall consumers are harmed by higher prices and less innovation.”

The Google antitrust lawsuit is expected to go to trial in September, Weiser’s office said.