Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Texas sues Google for antitrust violations

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Texas sues Alphabet’s Google for anti-competitive conductAttorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday.

“I am proud to report that the State of Texas has taken legal action against Google for anti-competitive conduct, exclusionary practices and misrepresentation,” Paxton said in a video posted to Twitter. “Google has repeatedly used its monopoly power to control prices, engage in market collusion to rig bids in a huge violation of justice.”

Paxton said on Twitter that his suit focuses on the lucrative digital ad market, where Google gets most of its revenue. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case marks the second antitrust action against the search giant after the US Department of Justice filed a case of historical monopolization against the company in October.

Pressure on dominant tech companies intensified under President Donald Trump. Last week, Facebook Inc. has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of states wishing to dismantle the company by canceling its Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions, deals the government said were part of a campaign to crush illegally compete.

The push is expected to continue under President-elect Joe Biden, as the power of internet platforms has become a rare issue that has raised concerns on both sides.

Paxton also joined the Justice Department case in October, along with 10 other Republican attorneys general, in the mostimportantmonopolization for more than two decades. The federal case centers on Google’s position in online search, alleging that it used exclusive deals to expand its monopoly.

The Google adtech business, which sells services that handle nearly every step of a digital advertising journey, from a brand’s creative team to a consumer’s screen, has generated over $ 21 billion. income dollars in 2019.

PaxtondisclosedTuesday, he would hire the law firm specializing in mass crimes Mark Lanier, whowona multi-billion verdict against Johnson & johnson in 2018, to lead the test team. Paxton also said he plans to hire Keller Lenkner LLC, which sued Facebook. Ken Starr, the former independent lawyer whose investigation led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, will also be part of the Lanier team, reported Bloomberg.

Another Colorado-led group of states is also investigating Google and could file a third lawsuit as early as Thursday focusing on search and advertising activity, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Department of Justice has also investigated the adtech market, where Google operates technology for publishers and online advertisers as well as the exchanges that connect the two, Bloomberg. reported. All cases could potentially be consolidated before a single judge.

Reviews andcompetitors sayGoogle is breaking antitrust laws in its advertising technology business by offering discounts and special features to get advertisers and publishers to use only its products instead of mixing them and bundling them with competing services. Besides being one of the largest ad space providers in the world, Google also sells software tools that are used by almost all parts of the complex digital marketing industry.

Publishers and advertisers have long complained that Google’s large and complex digital advertising system is a ‘black box’ that leaves them in the dark about how and how ad placements are filled. whose prices are fixed. Press editors in particularallegedthe company does not pay them adequately for the content, resulting in a precipitous decline in the financial viability of journalism.

Google previously said it has lowered ad prices while expanding opportunities for small businesses to reach their customers. He also boasted of returning 70% of digital ad revenue to publishers and criticized the US research case as “deeply imperfect. “

Although Google started out as a search engine, it has grown rapidly through acquisitions, including that of digital advertising company DoubleClick in 2007, to control large swathes of the digital advertising ecosystem. Google has also stored huge treasures of data – decades of consumer and business buying preferences and browsing habits – to fuel its ads and make it harder for new entrants.

In September 2019, Paxtonadon the stages of the United States Supreme Court that he was leading 50 attorneys general in an investigation into Google’s position in online advertisements. The move signaled bipartisan concerns about the company and heralded increased public pressure.

Still, the Texas-led coalition began to split in the months that followed, as other states pursued their own investigations beyond the ad market, including Google’s search activity and its system of advertising. Android mobile operation, Bloomberg Newsreported.

Paxton, a conservative Republican, in October wasaccusedby senior officials for potential crimes, including corruption, which he denied. The allegations, which are unrelated to the Google affair, have attractedreprimandfrom the campaign arm of the Democratic attorneys general, who said his refusal to resign threatened their “joint work”.

Google is also facing increasing pressure in Washington from other corners. A home panel that spent more than a year surveying dominant tech companies accused Google of stealing content from rivals to create a “walled garden” to keep users on its properties, rather than keeping them. direct to other sites. The panel, led by Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, offers measures in particular prohibiting companies from participating in markets which they also operate, which could effectively dissolve some of them.

More to read absolutely technological coverage of Fortune:


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