The state attorneys general investigating Google are considering pushing for a breakup of the tech giant’s ad technology business as part of an expected lawsuit, people familiar with the situation told CNBC.
Critics have said that Google bundles its ad tools so that rivals can’t afford to match its offerings and that its operation of search results, YouTube, Gmail and other services hinder ad competition.
Fifty attorneys general have been probing Google’s business practices for months, alongside a similar probe being led by the U.S. Department of Justice. Both the states and the DOJ are looking to file a suit against the internet giant as soon as within the next few months, the people told CNBC.
The attorneys general investigating Google, which is owned by Alphabet, haven’t yet definitively ruled out pushing for alternatives for its ad technology business, like imposing restrictions on how it runs its business, one of the sources said. A suit may also include a push for both that option and breaking up the ad tech business.
Once the attorneys general file their expected lawsuit, they have a number of tools at their disposal to signal their intent to push for a breakup of Google’s ad technology business. That includes what they allege, the evidence they introduce, pre-trial briefings and news conferences.
Critics have said that Google bundles its ad tools so that rivals can’t afford to match its offerings and that its operation of search results, YouTube, Gmail and other services hinder ad competition. They also say that Google owns all sides of the “auction exchange” through which ads are sold and bought, giving it an unfair advantage.
MacDailyNews Take: In March 2019, Europe’s antitrust regulators ordered Google to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for freezing out rivals in the online advertising business.
Google is a monopoly. A breakup of Google would be welcome. In fact, even as we attempt to move away from the ad-supported model, we back whatever remedy or remedies will introduce competition back into the online advertising business, which is broken, in part, because far too much power is concentrated with Google. This situation is exactly why antitrust laws exist.
Imagine if your livelihood depended on one company that had not only monopolized web search (and, thereby, basically controlled how new customers find you), but also controlled the bulk of online advertising dollars which funded your business and which they could pull, simply threaten to pull, or reduce rates at any time? Now also imagine if you believe this monopolist basically stole the product of another company that is the very subject of your business? How much would you criticize the monopolist thief’s business practices?
You might guess that it would be a tough road to walk. (We’re only imagining, of course!)
That would be a good example of why monopolies are bad for everyone.
The U.S. government has utterly failed to police Google. Because the people with the power to do so currently are corrupt. Follow the money. Hopefully, the European Union will help to correct the situation.
In the meantime, stop using Google search and Google products wherever possible. Monopolies are bad for everyone. — MacDailyNews, July 14, 2016
If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try! https://duckduckgo.com
With this unprecedented power, platforms have the ability to redirect into their pockets the advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines. No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t. — MacDailyNews, November 9, 2017
We’d like to see real competition in the online search and advertising markets restored someday. — MacDailyNews, March 20, 2019