Texas state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of malpractice to create a monopoly in the digital ad business. The case also alleges that the search company co-conspired with Facebook to rig ad auctions and fix prices.
This suit was co-signed by nine other Republican-led states aside from Texas. Paxton made this announcement through a strange video on a Texas AG’s official Twitter account. He said that this lawsuit is for Google’s “anti-competitive conduct, exclusionary practices, and deceptive representations” to create an ad monopoly.
This internet Goliath used its power to manipulate the market, destroy competition, and harm YOU, the consumer. Stay tuned… pic.twitter.com/fdEVEWQb0e
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) December 16, 2020
The complaint also accuses the Mountain View-based company of reaching an arrangement with Facebook to give the latter an advantage in mobile ad auctions. It details that both companies had agreed on the number of times Facebook would come out top in header bidding auctions. For the uninitiated, header bidding is a method where an ad publisher can send simultaneous requests to multiple ad networks to get the best pricing.
In a statement, Google said that the lawsuit’s claims don’t hold any water and it offers competitive ad fees:
Attorney General Paxton’s ad tech claims are meritless, yet he’s gone ahead in spite of all the facts. Digital ad prices have fallen over the last decade. Ad tech fees are falling too. Google’s ad tech fees are lower than the industry average. These are the hallmarks of a highly competitive industry.
Apart from this fresh lawsuit, Google has faced several antitrust complaints this year. In October, the US Justice Department sued Google for creating an unlawful monopoly in search and search advertising.
In November, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) filed a complaint against the tech giant regarding its payments app Google Pay. The country’s regulatory body also opened a probe into the company’s dominance in the mobile operating system market through Android.
You can read the full text of the lawsuit here.