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A group of state attorneys general plan to accuse Google of illegally abusing its monopoly over the technology that delivers ads online, the attorney general of Texas said on Wednesday, adding to the company’s legal troubles with a case that strikes at the heart of its business.
The lawsuit is expected to be the first by regulators in the United States to focus on the tools that connect buyers of advertising space with publishers who sell it. Advertisements generate the vast majority of the company’s profits. In October, the Justice Department and 11 states said Google had illegally maintained a monopoly over online search engines and the ads that appear in users’ results.
“If the free market were a baseball game, Google positioned itself as the pitcher, the batter and the umpire,” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, said in a video on Twitter announcing the plans.
The complaint will add to the fierce bipartisan backlash against one of the country’s biggest tech companies. Regulators in the United States and Europe have focused on the outsize role Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google play in the modern economy, shaping everything from how we shop to what information and entertainment we see.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states accused Facebook of illegally crushing competition by acquiring younger rivals, and argued that the company should be broken up. An additional case against Google, brought by a separate set of states, is expected soon. Apple and Amazon are both under federal antitrust investigations, too.
The lawsuit announced on Wednesday concerns a system, largely invisible to consumers, that connects the buyers of advertising space with sellers across the internet. When an internet user clicks on a web page, the technology produced by Google and other companies allows the owner of that website to sell an advertisement on that page in real time.
A Google spokeswoman did not immediately offer a comment.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: States Plan to Accuse Google of Illegal Monopoly in Online Ads