The U.S. Justice Department has accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google of abusing its dominance in digital advertising, threatening to dismantle a key business at the heart of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful internet companies. The department has said Google should be forced to sell its ad manager suite, a business that generated about 12% of Google’s revenues in 2021 and plays a vital role in the search engine and cloud company’s overall sales.
According to Reuters, the antitrust complaint states, “Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.” Google, whose advertising business is responsible for about 80% of its revenue, has stated that the government’s argument would slow innovation, raise advertising fees, and make it harder for thousands of small businesses and publishers to grow.
However, the federal government claims its Big Tech investigations and lawsuits aim to level the playing field for smaller rivals. Charlotte Slaiman, competition policy director at Public Knowledge, explained, “By suing Google for monopolizing advertising technology, the DOJ today aims at the heart of the internet giant’s power. The complaint lays out the many anticompetitive strategies from Google that have held our internet ecosystem back.”
The suit, led by the Biden administration, follows a similar antitrust lawsuit filed against Google in 2020 by former President Donald Trump. The previous lawsuit accused Google of violating antitrust laws in its acquisition and maintenance of dominance in the online search market and is set to go to trial in September.