U.S. states lean toward breakup of Google’s ad tech business

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.

Google breakup. Image: Google logo

Lauren Hirsch and Megan Graham for CNBC:

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


      1. Without an algorithm, a search for “roof shingles” returns 60,400,000 results in random order. A search on any proper search engine returns an ordered list reflecting the probable relevance of each of those results. Without that ordering, there would be no way to access any information on the internet without knowing its address in advance. Google achieved market dominance by providing more users with more useful results, leading more people to use it.

        If it were split up, the successor companies might start even, but the same competitive pressures would bring the most useful one back to the top. What would that accomplish?

        1. Apparently so. Again, what would using the power of the federal government to expropriate a private business, only to set up another market-dominating company, really accomplish? When the government broke up Standard Oil and Ma Bell, it was relatively simple to spin off the existing regional operating companies as independent entities. I don’t know a method to break up Google without affecting user services. Then again, I’m dim, so please enlighten me.

          1. I’ve advocated for years now that any company that gets enriched without explicit approval of the consumer be regulated as a monopoly. Or you break up the “partner networks” that allow this to happen.

    1. Really? Because Google speaks ill of firearms? That is your reason for demanding that the company be broken up into tiny pieces?

      Wow…you are the very type of person that leads me to doubt that humanity is capable of surviving its own stupidity. Corrupt and arrogant imbeciles has seized the reign of government. It is time to invoke the power of the Declaration of Independence once again…

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

      1. Firearms are a tool. A LEGAL tool. A CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED tool.

        Does Google censor videos featuring hammers (which are not even expressly guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution)?

        1. The Second Amendment to the Constitution reads:

          “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

          Recall that in the days of the Revolutionary War, there was not a standing army. Local populaces formed groups, called militias, when the defense of a region became necessary. Similarly, sheriffs would form posses by temporarily deputizing people when they needed more people to deal with a major threat, such as an armed gang. The militias provided security on BEHALF of the free state. Today, fanatics are promoting weapons ownerships as a means to combat the free state.

          Please also consider that the “arms” that existed in 1787 were muskets. An experience infantryman could get off perhaps three shots per minute with an effective range of accuracy in the tens of yards. The Founding Fathers did not envision automatic and semiautomatic weapons capable of spewing dozens or hundreds of rounds per minute with magazine-based rapid reloading. A few people armed with modern infantry weapons could have held of small armies back in the 1700s.

          I have not and am not trying to overturn the Second Amendment, even in the face of rabid fanaticism and the all too-common episodes of mass shootings in the United States. However, there is no reason that gun ownership cannot and should not be properly regulated. The proliferation of firearms has been show to increase violence and homicides and suicides, not decrease them.

          I keep hearing about “responsible gun ownership.” My question is, why don’t you support rules to promote that objective? How can you possibly justify the proliferation of concealed and open carry as the solution to gun violence and armed crimes? When there are shots going off and dozens of people pull guns and start pointing them around, how do you know who to shoot? How do the police know who to shoot when they show up on a crime scene in action?

          The people who attack me have proven over the years to be far too ossified in their viewpoints to be open to any debate. As a result, I have no reason to take you seriously. Your arguments are all emotion, devoid of logic.

          1. More lies and stupidity.

            The arms of the day were muskets.  The citizens had them and the military had the SAME MUSKETS.  The 2nd A therefore protected the use of MILITARY weapons in the hands of citizens.

            And there were rapid fire weapons when the 2nd A was written, but apparently you only parrot other liars instead of doing your own research.

            However, there is no reason that gun ownership cannot and should not be properly regulated. It is the most regulated product in the country.  There are 21,000 gun control laws already. Apparently, you only parrot other liars instead of doing your own research.

            “The proliferation of firearms has been shown to increase violence and homicides and suicides, not decrease them.” BULLSHIT

            Every place in the country that has the highest gun control has the highest crime. Every place in the country that has the lowest gun control has the lowest crime.  Criminals do not fear laws nor cops, they fear armed victims. Only and idiot would want more gun control.  Apparently, you only parrot other liars instead of doing your own research.

            Depending on the study, between 250,000 and 2 million violent crimes are stopped by law-abiding citizens with guns.   If it saves just one life its worth it.

            Americans have guns because Democrats are violent.

            Gun control is the perfect intelligence test.  It requires the ability to think, reason and research all on your own and liberals fail the IQ test.

            1. At the time, “well-regulated” meant well armed and well training, but you can’t think on your own so you don’t know that.
              At the time, “militia” meant all abled bodied men between ages 18 and 45, but you can’t think on your own so you don’t know that.

              Stop spreading the lies and bullshit and learn to think on your own.

          2. The first amendment only protect speech written by quill pen because the founders could never envision tv, radio and internet. How stupid can you be Kingmel?

            1. Awesome 👏🏻 ORIGINAL argument!

              Unfortunately, it is totally lost on KingMe and his liberal ilk. As we all read it is the same Democrat Dogma since the tumultuous 60s spreading the same FALSE equivalents and misinterpretations of history and the Constitution.

              Fact: Militias in the 1700s were ordinary citizens using the SAME firearms as the invading armies.

              As a lifetime member of the NRA, it always brings a smile to my face when non-critical thinkers repeatedly spout the same sophistry regarding the Second Amendment to the Constitution…😀

      2. King,

        Good to see that you have learned to cut and paste, but too bad you don’t actually understand the Constitution. Not just the 3rd grade ability to read it, but to know what it means.

        If you think “ Corrupt and arrogant imbeciles has seized the reign of government” now, you are the problem, and too stupid to know it

        1. I have no doubt that you fervently believe what you say. And I have no doubt that you are completely misguided and will remain so to the end of your days. For the sake of this country, let us all hope that you and your ilk inherited poor health genes.

          1. KingMe, you are not refuting all the posts that called you out for liberal stupidity I read here. Instead you denigrate their posts with nothing tangible or logical, “your ilk” puhleeze!

            There are over 200,000 gun laws on the books even though their are not 200,000 laws on free speech restrictions.

            As a lifetime member of the NRA also have a concealed carry permit and a most beautiful Glock and if you have a problem with that, tough. I don’t need you permission to follow the Constitution and all gun laws.

            What you are not aware of is I can put my Glock in a western style holster and walk the downtown streets where I live in plain sight and it is perfectly LEGAL. The same as the protestors in Virginia capital and elsewhere that marched with semi automatic military style weapons in plain view.

            Pay close attention — not one firearms incident or arrest at state capital protests. Gun owners respect their communities and don’t want to intimidate citizens and collectively they are the most RESPONSIBLE citizens.

            Get your head out of your liberal talking points ass…

      3. “… That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,…

        Americans determined that the previous administration, (Abamonation) became destructive to our way of life and we instituted a new government

        Thanks to the stupidity and violence of democrats, our new government will continue for another 4 years.

        1. Are you serious? Obama did not run in the 2016 election…you do understand the concept of term limits?!

          Even with the help of the Russians and a very poor campaign by Hillary, Trump barely won in 2016. It will not happen in 2020, regardless of the underhanded and illegal tactics employed by the far right. Now that the ugly underbelly of U.S. society has been exposed, it is time for the majority to wield its voting power for a better America.

          Believe what you want. That does not and will not make it true. Be prepared for a lot of disappointment.

          1. That would be President Trump disrespectful liberal.

            “Barely won?” He trounced Hillary in the electoral college and won states Republicans have not won in several decades — prime example Pennsylvania! Where have you been, flunked history class?

            If you are referring to the 2.7 million popular vote margin, First breaking news that’s not how presidential elections are won going back to the founding fathers.

            Second, you do realize that a handful of liberal precincts in the two most liberal populous states located in two sanctuary cities provided the popular vote margin.

            I can only guess you suspended your critical thinking skills and did not read several news reports and think tank studies reporting the popular vote margin and MORE votes were most likely cast by illegals in those precincts. Sorry, CNN and the New York Times did not program you on ALTERNATE views.

            Doesn’t matter, the first time politician Trump won by an astounding margin a historical achievement — NONE of the experts and the media saw coming.

            The Obama administration spying and the complicit Big Media could not and will not stop the power of the people!… 💪🏻🇺🇸🦅

      4. King, your reading comprehension is abominable. Go back to school.

        No where did he say “speaks ill of firearms”. He said demonitize which means they destroyed their customer’s business who promoted constitutionally protected products.

        Americans are sorry that you are too stupid to comprehend to meaning and effects of that action Please stop breeding.

        1. You just slammed yourself, Nance.

          Synonyms for “demonize” include criticize, demean, deprecate, diminish, disparage, vilify, insult, slight and rubbish. You do understand the meaning of “to speak ill of”…criticize, demean, disparage.

          Why do I bother debating with people who cannot even formulate a valid argument? The irony is that you did not even realize that your argument was total rubbish.

          I have four kids – all highly intelligent, all graduating college with technical and business degrees, and all very socially and politically aware. They are “woke” and you are in a coma.

          1. You have proven yourself to be an idiot and too stupid to know it. You were just proven wrong and refuse facts. You are just pathetic, stupi and gullible

          2. Kingmel,

            A smart person would have said “I did my own research and you are right” but apparently you are not smart

            You just proved you proved yourself to be incapable of learning

          3. “Why do I bother debating with people who cannot even formulate a valid argument?”

            You are NOT debating intelligent comments. You are spouting FALSE TALKING POINTS of the Democrat Party and are to stupid to be a critical thinker.

            You run away and delude your self righteous ego.

            Your kids are “woke.” God save them from your misguided clueless politics…

          4. They are “woke?”🤔


            Brainwashed and programmed robots by the leftists activists and not allowed to think for themselves or examine alternative views is the accurate take.

            Here’s hoping your children ignore your outdated Democrat views, THINK FOR THEMSELVES, and conclude a vote for Trump’s re-election is the ONLY way to prosperity…

    1. Fair enough, pkintx. But are you aware that you get those improved results because Google knows more about you than your own family? Are you aware that Google reads Gmail content that passes through its servers?

      It is your choice to use Google. But you should also understand that you pay for what you get.

      I am not personally in favor of breaking up Google. I would prefer that companies take a more responsible path, like Apple, in promoting consumer privacy and consumer control over their own data. Also, I agree with TxUser in that breaking up Google will not solve the inherent problems. Others will pick up where Google leaves off. The solution is not to pulverize companies, but to ensure a code of behavior that best serves the populace.

    1. To protect us from external danger, yes. To protect others from us when necessary, yes. Those are the main functions of government.

      To protect us from encountering opinions with which the government disagrees, no. And no, the government should not be protecting us from ourselves when we understand the risks and our actions are not threatening anyone else.

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