According to reports, people familiar with the matter revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice plans to launch a lawsuit against Google as early as Tuesday local time because of its dominant position in the digital advertising market.
The people familiar with the matter said the case could be brought before a US federal court by the weekend. But the US Department of Justice has not yet commented on this. Google also declined to comment.
The lawsuit will be the second antitrust action launched against Google by the US Department of Justice. Google currently holds the top spot in the $278.6 billion (currently about RMB 1.89 trillion) US digital advertising market and controls most of the market.
The lawsuit will also be the fifth major lawsuit launched by the US government against Google’s business model. Three other lawsuits have been filed against Google by US state attorneys general alleging that the company’s dominance in search, advertising technology and Android violates US antitrust laws.
According to market research firm eMarketer, Google ranks first in the $626.86 billion (currently about RMB 4.25 trillion) global digital advertising market, of which the US also has the largest share. Google’s parent company Alphabet’s advertising business is expected to generate $73.8 billion (currently about RMB 500.364 billion) in US digital advertising revenue by 2023. Google offers ad-buying services for marketers and ad-selling services for content publishers, as well as creating a quick bidding platform for both parties.
Google has previously stated that the online advertising market is very crowded and highly competitive. In court filings and testimony provided to the US Congress, they said that technology companies, including Amazon, Meta and Microsoft, were significant competitors.
The US Department of Justice began an examination of Google’s dominance of the advertising technology market back in the previous US administration. But the DOJ at the time chose to sue Google’s search business, accusing the company of using exclusive distribution agreements with mobile operators and handset manufacturers to crowd out competitors. The case is due to go to trial in September.