The US Justice Department is planning to sue Google over claims it illegally controls the digital advertising industry.
Sources say it has taken years to develop a case claiming Google owner Alphabet’s. business illegally controls the digital advertising industry, but that lawsuit could now be launched by September.
Anonymous sources told Bloomberg new information is being gathered for the lawsuit and attorneys with the DOJ’s antitrust section are interviewing publishers.
This was stated in a chat about an ongoing inquiry by three people who were there but requested to remain anonymous.
Two of the people say some of the interviews have already happened, while others are planned for the upcoming weeks.
They build on earlier interrogations conducted during an earlier stage of the long-running investigation.
The move follows the government’s 2020 lawsuit alleging that the internet behemoth controls the online search market in violation of antitrust rules.
The DOJ’s ad tech complaint would be the agency’s second action against Google.
It was previously reported that an ad tech complaint was in the works last year.
It has not yet been decided whether prosecutors will file the case in federal court in Washington, where the search case is pending, or in New York, where state attorneys general have their own antitrust case related to Google’s ad tech business, the sources said.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels said: “Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world,”
“The enormous competition in online advertising has made online ads more relevant, reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers.”
The federal government is now moving to make efforts to have more control over the US’s biggest tech companies.
For example, the Federal Trade Commission is looking into Amazon’s domination of online shopping and has sued Meta Platforms Inc. to get it to sell off Instagram and WhatsApp.
The Justice Department is also looking into Apple Inc. because of its strict control over the App Store.
These investigations are challenging and take years to plan and complete as they go from inquiry through litigation and appeals
In December 2020, attorneys general for 16 states and Puerto Rico also sued Google for allegedly monopolizing the online digital advertising market.
The lawsuit claims Google and Meta entered into an unlawful agreement to rig online auctions used by advertisers and website publishers to acquire and sell advertising space.
Google has requested a federal judge to reject the states‘ case because it disputes the claims. Later this month, there will be a hearing on that request.
The market for online display advertisements, which support news, sports, and entertainment websites, is dominated by Google.
The business is the owner of tools that let websites sell advertisements, tools that help advertisers buy space, and the most popular platform for online ad auctions.