CT joins multi-state lawsuit against Google  

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. The Justice Department and several states have sued Google, alleging that its dominance in digital advertising harms competition. Photo By, Carolyn Kaster/AP Newsroom

The state of Connecticut recently joined a United States Department of Justice lawsuit concerning Google’s dominance in advertising, according to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General.  

“Connecticut has joined a…lawsuit challenging Google’s dominant grip on the online advertising industry which allows the company to dictate how digital ads are sold and the terms under which its rivals can compete,” the press release reads.  

The lawsuit accuses Google of acting as a monopoly, taking up a large amount of digital ad space over the course of 15 years.  

“Google has thwarted competition in this business sector over the past 15 years,” stated the press release. “It has done so, as explained in the complaint, by systematically acquiring control over key ad-tech industry tools, including the largest advertising exchange where digital ads are bought and sold, and imposing restrictions that have unfairly undermined rivals’ ability to compete.”  

The press release also mentioned that Google has “inserted itself into virtually every aspect of the digital advertising marketplace,” allowing the company to earn more from its fees.  

“…Google then leverages its market power to direct more business to its own ad-tech products and undermine the ability of rivals to compete, thereby enabling it to collect higher fees for itself at the expense of both the advertisers and publishers it serves as well as consumers,” according to the press release.  

Connecticut is the eighth state to announce its association with the lawsuit, joining the states of California, Virginia, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee.  

According to the OAG’s Chief of Communications and Policy, Elizabeth Benton, the state joined the complaint with the concern that Google’s dominance in the advertisement industry could harm consumers if more publishers turn to subscriptions and paywalls for their content.  

“…This conduct hurts all of us, including citizens of Connecticut, because, as publishers and creators make less money from advertisements, fewer are able to offer internet content without subscriptions, paywalls, or alternative forms of monetization,” Benton said. “In view of this brazen sustained conduct and harm to the industry and consumers, our state antitrust enforcement proudly joined this highly consequential suit.”  

The state’s Attorney General William Tong also made a recent announcement regarding Connecticut’s involvement with the multi-state complaint.  

“[Google] has abused its dominance to manipulate advertisement auctions and exchange markets, to coerce advertisers into using its services, and to inflate its own profits at the expense of American businesses in violation of antitrust laws,” Tong said. “Connecticut has joined with the U.S. Department of Justice and this bipartisan coalition of states to restore free and fair competition to this broken market.”  

The “bipartisan coalition of states” that Tong refers to is made up of 38 attorneys general in the U.S. who are representing the lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C.  

The trial associated with the lawsuit is scheduled to take place in September 2023.  

The press release also mentioned Connecticut’s role in a separate multi-state case concerning “Google’s monopolization of payments for app purchases on the Android mobile device operating system.”  

The case, which looks to get relief for affected consumers, is currently pending in federal court in San Francisco, California and has a trial scheduled for November.  

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