DOJ sues Google over abuse of digital ad dominance

STORY: The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday, accusing the tech giant of abusing its dominance in digital advertising.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland - announcing the lawsuit in Washington – said Google unfairly decimated the competition.

“For 15 years, Google has pursued a course of anticompetitive conduct that has allowed it to halt the rise of rival technologies, manipulate auction mechanics to insulate itself from competition, and force advertisers and publishers to use its tools. In so doing, Google has engaged in exclusionary conduct as severely weakened, if not destroy competition in the ad tech industry.”

Google responded by saying the government was "doubling down on a flawed argument” that would make it harder for small businesses and publishers to grow.

Eight states joined the DOJ in this lawsuit, including Google’s home state, California.

This lawsuit is the second federal antitrust complaint filed against Google. The DOJ’s first, filed in 2020, focused on the company’s monopoly in search and is scheduled to go to trial in September.

According to Insider Intelligence, Google remains the leader in digital ads by a long shot, though its share of U.S. digital ad revenue had fallen to 29% in 2022 from 37% in 2016.