According to a Tuesday Bloomberg article, the U.S. Department of Justice is prepared to prosecute Google over its hegemony in the online advertising sector. A lawsuit might be brought up as early as next month.
As per Bloomberg, which cited three unnamed individuals, the Justice Department is conducting a series of conversations with publishers to acquire additional information for its complaint. The Justice Department sued Google for antitrust violations in 2020 because of the company's dominance in the search market and alleged actions to stifle search competition. The legal process for the lawsuit is still ongoing.
"Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world," said Google representative Peter Schottenfels in a statement. "The intense competition in online advertising has increased the relevance of online ads, reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers."
The anticipated lawsuit comes as Congress, the Justice Department, the European Union, and the United Kingdom work to rein in Big Tech. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, introduced by the U.S. Senate, would limit the influence of Amazon, Apple, and Google in e-commerce marketplaces. The United Kingdom intends to establish a new unit tasked with investigating "predatory practices" by Big Tech. The EU approved the Digital Markets Act last month to regulate Apple, Google, and Meta with the goal of increasing competition in e-commerce sales and apps.
Google appears to have attempted to address the department's concerns in order to avoid the new lawsuit. Last month, the company reportedly told the DOJ that it was willing to separate its ad business. According to reports, Google has volunteered to make concessions in order to avoid a potential Department of Justice antitrust action that targets the search engine giant's ad technology division.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Google had suggested creating a separate company under parent Alphabet for the division of the corporation "that bids and puts advertising on websites and applications." According to reports, the proposed separate firm might be worth tens of billions of dollars.
The DOJ would prefer asset sales or "deep structural changes" to Google's ad tech division, according to the Journal, so it's uncertain if the suggested concessions would go far enough. The Department of Justice did not respond.