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VA judge sets September trial date for Google ad tech antitrust suit
06 February 2024
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Complaint alleges Google abuses dominance of display advertising

September trial date set for latest Google antitrust suit

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema has set a 9 September 2024 commencement date for a jury trial in the antitrust lawsuit filed by USDOJ and the Attorneys General of CA, CO, CT, NJ, NY, RI, TN and VA.

Their complaint alleges that Google abuses its dominance of digital display ad placement auction technology and is undermining competition.

Google has said if the lawsuit succeeds, it would "slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow."

In 4Q2023, advertising comprised around $66 billion of the $86 billion in total revenues reported by Google parent Alphabet.

In filings to be addressed in the September trial, complainants allege that Google has gained control of competitors through anticompetitive mergers, and forced publishers and advertisers to use proprietary Google tech products.

In a media release, DOJ said in part:

"As alleged in the complaint, over the past 15 years, Google has engaged in a course of anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct that consisted of neutralizing or eliminating ad tech competitors through acquisitions; wielding its dominance across digital advertising markets to force more publishers and advertisers to use its products; and thwarting the ability to use competing products. In doing so, Google cemented its dominance in tools relied on by website publishers and online advertisers, as well as the digital advertising exchange that runs ad auctions."

Google advocates argue that a competitor willing to invest enough money could compete with Google - but that potential investors have found offputting Microsoft's inability to get Bing more than a 3% share of search after investing a couple of billion dollars.

In the meantime, in May, a federal judge in DC is expected to hear closing arguments in an earlier suit by USDOJ and several states about Google's alleged dominance of online search.

And in March 2025, another antitrust suit over Google's use of ad tech is scheduled to go to trial in Texas.

Are all these lawsuits wearing Google down? Are layoffs of ad sales people to be replaced by AI a sign of weakness? Stay tuned.

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