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Attorney General Josh Stein Sues Google Over Advertising Monopoly

For Immediate Release:
Monday, April 17, 2023

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed a bipartisan antitrust lawsuit against Google alleging that the company harmed consumers by creating a 15-year monopoly in digital advertising technology. By stifling competition through anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct, Google is limiting people’s access to ideas, information, goods, and services, and is profiting by taking more than 30 percent of the advertising dollars on its platform.

“Healthy competition improves quality, reduces costs, and spurs innovation,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The law requires Google to fight fair, and I’m fighting to make sure it does and to improve competition for North Carolinians.”

There are a few different advertising technology tools:

  • The publisher ad server, which website owners and publishers use to sell ad space on their websites.
  • The advertiser ad network, where people and businesses can buy space to run their digital ads.
  • The ad exchange, a real-time auction that matches ad buyers and sellers.

Attorney General Stein’s lawsuit alleges that Google now controls all of these advertising technology tools because it neutralized and eliminated competitors by acquiring them, used its dominance in digital advertising to force more ad sellers and buyers to use its products, distorted and manipulated its auction process so it would have an advantage over competitors, and prevented people and businesses from using competing products.

Google’s anticompetitive conduct has hurt consumers by driving out rivals in digital advertising, weakening competition, increasing advertising costs, reducing revenues for news publishers and content creators, snuffing out innovation, and harming the exchange of information and ideas in the public sphere.  In short – Google has weakened the free and open internet upon which North Carolinians depend.

In filing today’s complaint, Attorney General Stein joins the U.S. Department of Justice and a bipartisan group of Attorneys General from California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington, and West Virginia.

A copy of the complaint is available here.

This is the third in a series of antitrust lawsuits Attorney General Stein has filed against Google. More information on the other lawsuits is available below:

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