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Department of Justice Files Lawsuit Against Google

Google building
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The DOJ and eight states accused the company of harming competition with its dominance in the online advertising market.

(CNN) — The Justice Department and eight states sued Google on Tuesday, accusing the company of harming competition with its dominance in the online advertising market. The move marks the Biden administration's first blockbuster antitrust case against a Big Tech company.

The eight states joining the suit include California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The fresh complaint significantly escalates the risks to Google emanating from Washington, where lawmakers and regulators have frequently raised concerns about the tech giant's power but have so far failed to pass new legislation or regulations that might rein in the company or its peers.

For years, Google's critics have claimed that the company's extensive role in the ecosystem that enables advertisers to place ads, and for publishers to offer up digital ad space, represents a conflict of interest that Google has exploited anticompetitively.

In Tuesday's complaint, a copy of which was viewed by CNN, the Justice Department alleged that Google actively and illegally maintained that dominance by engaging in a campaign to thwart competition. Google gobbled up rivals through anticompetitive mergers, the US government said, and bullied publishers and advertisers into using the company's proprietary ad technology products.

Google, the US government alleged, "has corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers, and brokers, to facilitate digital advertising. Having inserted itself into all aspects of the digital advertising marketplace, Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies."

Tuesday's suit marks the federal government's second antitrust complaint against Google since 2020, when the Trump administration sued over Google's alleged anticompetitive harms in search and search advertising. That case is still ongoing. Google has also been the target of antitrust litigation by state and private actors.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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