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Google Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Texas-led Antitrust Lawsuit

— January 21, 2022

Google has said the lawsuit lacks credibility and is underpinned by a fundamental misunderstanding of its advertising policies and business strategy.

Google has asked a federal court to dismiss a multi-state lawsuit against it, which alleges the company’s business practices violate antitrust laws.

In its filing, Google said that the Texas-led lawsuit is not “credible” and has failed to establish that Google’s advertising business and practices are in any way illegal.

Google executives, meanwhile, have taken to social media to protest the continuing litigation. Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, suggested in one post that state attorneys general either do not understand or have intentionally misrepresented the company’s strategy.

“[Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s] allegations are more heat than light, and we don’t believe they meet the legal standard to send this case to trial,” Cohen wrote. “The complaint misrepresents our business, products, and motives, and we are moving to dismiss it based on its failure to offer plausible antitrust claims.”

A 2013 image of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Alice Linahan Voices Empower. (CCA-BY-2.0).

However, Paxton updated the complaint in January, adding information about Google’s alleged collusion with Facebook. According to POLITCO’s summation of the case, Google rigged online ad-space auctions in Facebook’s favor, ensuring that the social media company would always win a certain number of bids.

The updated lawsuit says this agreement gave both Google and Facebook an unfair advantage in the online advertising market, in which Google is—far and away—the biggest, most important player.

Cohen, though, said that the deal was not truly anticompetitive, as Facebook is but one of several advertising partners announced in 2018.

The New York Times notes that, while this deal was indeed announced in 2018, Google never disclosed that it granted competitor Facebook “special information and speed advantages to help the company succeed in the auctions that it did not offer to other partners—even including a guaranteed ‘win rate.’”

However, Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels insists that the revised complaint is as lacking as its predecessor.

“Despite Attorney General Paxton’s three attempts to re-write his complaint, it is still full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit,” Schottenfels said in a statement. “Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. There is vigorous competition in online advertising, which has reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers.”

However, Paxton says that Google is now asking American consumers to overlook “egregious” monopoly abuses perpetrated by one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world.

“The company whose motto was once “Don’t Be Evil” now asks the world to examine their egregious monopoly abuses and see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil,” Paxton told CNET in an emailed statement.


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