A more immediate threat to Google is that an additional fight with the government represents another distraction for a company that’s also pushing back against and contending with burgeoning competitive threats in some other areas. YouTube has had to introduce “” to keep up with TikTok. Microsoft is pouring billions of dollars into OpenAI, a company that rivals Google’s own AI efforts — and is threatening to use its ChatGPT chatbot to boost Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. Meanwhile, ad spending is down across the board, including for Google and its properties. Google’s ad business hasn’t been hit as hard , but its overall revenue is by as much as it was before.
The DOJ has reportedly been preparing its case against Google’s digital ad business , even before the Biden administration. This latest suit also joins four other government antitrust lawsuits Google is already facing, including from October 2020 over its search engine and search ad business and one filed by 38 state attorneys general in December of the same year, again over the search business. In July 2021, 37 state attorneys general sued Google over its Play app store, and 17 state attorneys general sued over the digital ad business in a similar case to what the DOJ is bringing now.“Today’s lawsuit from the DOJ attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector,” Google said in a statement. Global ads vice president Dan Taylor the lawsuit would harm the advertising industry and innovation, not help it, and that the government shouldn’t be able to force companies to unwind that were once approved by regulators.
Google also pointed out that it’s in a crowded and competitive space. Google, Meta, and, increasingly, Amazon have the biggest shares of the digital advertising market in the US, with Google having the largest. The other antitrust enforcement agency, the Federal Trade Commission, has sued Meta and Microsoft, too, over acquisitions that it claims are anticompetitive.The Chamber of Progress, a Google-funded Big Tech advocacy group, said in a statement that the case was “disconnected from economic reality” and that Google’s digital ad market share ( to be about 29 percent in 2022, giving it the largest share of any one company) was “at an all-time low.” Antitrust advocates who have railed against Big Tech for years applauded the move. Kyle Morse, deputy executive director of the Tech Oversight Project, said in a statement that “Google is rightfully being held accountable for years of abuse in the online marketplace,” adding that Google’s rivals should take a lesson and rethink their own behavior. “Otherwise, you’re next,” Morse said. The DOJ’s other antitrust lawsuit against Google — filed in October 2020 — is scheduled to go to trial in September 2023, which gives you an idea of how long it could be before the suit filed today sees the inside of a court. Google’s government troubles will likely stretch into the next decade, at which point there might be a totally new company dominating the internet.