WA attorney general joins others in Google lawsuit

Apr 3, 2023, 4:23 PM


A cursor moves over Google's search engine page. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

(AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is going after Google once more as he joins the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against the tech giant, claiming the company unlawfully monopolizes online display advertising.

This is the fourth time the attorney general has been part of an antitrust lawsuit against Google.

“An open marketplace encourages competition and creativity,” Ferguson said in a statement. “When Google muscles in and dominates the market, everyone loses — except Google.”

Jury finds man guilty of murdering Everett officer Dan Rocha

Ferguson announced Monday he is joining the Justice Department and eight state attorneys general in the lawsuit aimed at breaking up Google’s monopolization of online display advertising.

The industry developed tools to automate the process between two key groups: Website publishers and advertisers. When a user on the internet opens a webpage with ad space to sell, the tools almost instantly match a website publisher with an advertiser looking to promote its products or services to an individual user.

The lawsuit claims Google’s market share for publisher ad servers soared from 60% in 2008 to 90% by 2015. Google keeps 30 cents of every dollar in advertising that passes through the marketplace it now controls.

The suit asserts that Google’s dominance of the online display advertising market has allowed it to funnel more business through its services, resulting in websites earning less and advertisers paying more.

The lawsuit outlines how companies buy and sell online ads in enormous volumes and in fractions of a second. Online advertisers and website publishers use highly sophisticated, automated tools to get their advertisements on the computer screens of the most likely prospective buyers.

The lawsuit asserts Google violated the Sherman Antitrust Act after a 2008 acquisition of an online advertising company named DoubleClick, a dominant company in online advertising — controlling 60% of the market share. Federal regulators allowed the purchase at the time because they believed enough alternatives existed that there would still be competition.

The lawsuit claims Google’s anticompetitive conduct in the online advertising marketplace has suppressed alternative technologies and hindered their adoption by publishers, advertisers, and rivals. It seeks a breakup of Google’s advertising platforms and injunctive terms to end Google’s dominance of online ad marketplaces.

Real estate excise tax could become highest in nation with new bill

The lawsuit itself explains the core issue:

While Google told the world that its removal of traditional header bidding was based on page latency and a desire to improve user experience, its internal documents painted a different picture. Several Google employees shared their views that any concerns about user experience or latency were a smokescreen to mask Google’s real motivation: further propping up
its ad tech monopoly and profits.

The lawsuit asserts Google currently controls:

  • The technology used by nearly every major website publisher to offer advertising space for sale;
  • The leading tools used by advertisers to buy that advertising space; and
  • The largest ad exchange that matches publishers with advertisers.

Local News

Google Doodle...

Bill Kaczaraba

Bellevue sixth-grader doodles her way to Google champion

Bellevue sixth-grader Rebecca Wu has won the Doodle for Google contest and $30k.

16 hours ago

10-year-old Federal Way...

KIRO 7 News Staff

Family shares details on how 10-year-old survived being lost in the Cascades for 24-hours

The Kittitas Sheriff’s Department released new details on Tuesday on how a Federal Way 10-year-old survived being lost overnight in the Cascades near the Cle Elum River.

16 hours ago

Tacoma power vault...

Heather Bosch

5 arrested for breaking into Tacoma power vault

Tacoma Police say they've arrested five people who were allegedly breaking into a Tacoma power vault on Monday.

16 hours ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

16 hours ago

boeing dreamliner...

Bill Kaczaraba

Boeing: New defect on 787 Dreamliner planes

Boeing said its 787 Dreamliner planes may have a new defect, according to CNBC and other business news outlets.

16 hours ago

Garfield High...

Frank Sumrall

Garfield HS the focus of school safety precautions following nearby violence

Garfield High School and Nova High School both had its students return on campus in person Monday after locking down the campus last week.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

WA attorney general joins others in Google lawsuit