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Google asks court to completely dismiss US DOJ's antitrust lawsuit against its ad operations

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Google filed a motion for summary judgment, asking a federal court in Virginia to dismiss the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit that alleges the company of anticompetitive practices in the online advertising marketplace.

A motion for summary judgment is a legal procedure in which a party asks the court to rule in its favor without a full trial. Filing such a motion allows a party to avoid the time and expense of a full trial if the court agrees there are no genuine factual disputes to be resolved.

In January 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice, along with 8 state Attorneys General, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit alleges that Google has abused its dominance of the digital advertising business by using its control over various ad tech tools and platforms to funnel more transactions to its own ad tech products, thereby corrupting legitimate competition in the ad tech industry.

The U.S. government argues that Google should be forced to sell off its ad manager suite, which handles the buying and selling of ads and incorporates the exchange where the bidding takes place, from its core business of search, YouTube, and other services. This would apparently help restore competition in the digital advertising market, as Google currently takes a significant commission of every advertising dollar that flows through its systems, which is seen as a sign that the current online ad market is "broken and totally inefficient".

In response to the lawsuit, Google argued that its advertising business, which includes its ad manager tools, only makes up about 12% of the company's total revenue. So it's not the core of Google's operations.

Google argues that the government's lawsuit goes too far and doesn't actually target the specific business practices that the government claims are problematic. Google says the lawsuit is attacking normal business decisions and product improvements that benefited customers, not illegal anti-competitive actions.

Google even disputes the claim that it has an illegal monopoly in online advertising, stating that there's strong competition in the market from other major players like Facebook, Amazon, and traditional media companies.

This is why Google aims to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit on the grounds that its practices were lawful, customer-focused, and not indicative of anticompetitive behavior. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia federal court has set the trial for the Justice Department's case against Google for September.

The judge has the authority to limit the scope of the lawsuit before the trial or even dismiss the case entirely. Both Google and the Justice Department can request summary judgment, which involves a detailed examination of the facts and merits of the case to determine if there are grounds for a ruling without a full trial.

Via Reuters

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