In a bold move, news publisher Gannett has filed a lawsuit against Google and its parent company, Alphabet, accusing them of monopolizing advertising-technology markets and engaging in deceptive commercial practices. Gannett claims that this monopolistic behavior restricts competition, depresses prices, and hampers the availability and quality of news content. With substantial damages sought, this legal battle could have far-reaching implications for the tech giant.
Gannett’s lawsuit asserts that Google and Alphabet have a stranglehold on the tools used by publishers and advertisers to buy and sell online ad space. By maintaining these monopolies, they allegedly limit competition, leading to adverse effects on pricing and the accessibility of news content. Gannett, in particular, highlights the detrimental impact on local news operations, which are vital sources of information for communities.
Gannett is determined to hold Google accountable for its alleged misconduct. The publisher states that a thorough examination of Google’s behavior and the damage it has caused is necessary to fully understand the extent of the issue. Seeking substantial damages, Gannett is poised to challenge the tech giant in court.
This lawsuit is not an isolated event in Google’s legal battles. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, aiming to dismantle its dominant position in brokering digital advertising across the internet. The Justice Department’s case challenges Google’s acquisitions, including the purchase of ad-serving company DoubleClick, and calls for divestiture of its ad exchange.
Executives at Alphabet have staunchly defended the company against the allegations, asserting that the Department of Justice’s case is flawed. They maintain that Google operates within the bounds of the law and will vigorously defend itself against these legal challenges. The pending trial scheduled for September will be a crucial juncture for Google, determining the course of its future.
This is not the first time Google has faced legal action related to alleged monopolistic practices. In 2020, the Justice Department filed a separate lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of maintaining a monopoly in online search and related advertising. Google’s chief legal officer at the time vehemently criticized the lawsuit, and the case is now set to go to trial.
The outcome of Gannett’s lawsuit against Google could have significant reverberations throughout the digital advertising and news publishing industries. If successful, it may lead to increased competition and innovation in the ad-tech space, benefiting publishers and advertisers alike. Conversely, a victory for Google would solidify its position, potentially further consolidating its dominance.
Gannett’s decision to sue Google and Alphabet marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing battle against monopolistic practices in the digital advertising industry. With the outcome of this lawsuit still uncertain, the implications for competition, pricing, and the availability of news content remain to be seen. As the legal proceedings unfold, the industry eagerly awaits a resolution that could reshape the future of online advertising and news publishing.
First reported on: Mint
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