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Google Faces Monumental $17 Billion Lawsuit Over Ad Market Domination; Major Legal Battle Ahead

Tech behemoth Google will have to face a £13.6bn or $17 billion lawsuit which indicts that the search giant for unduly dominating the online advertising market.

The ruling came from a court that was hearing a plea by Alphabet to dismiss the case.

The £13.6bn lawsuit was instituted against Google by a group called Ad Tech Collective Action LLP, and the lawsuit alleged that Google employed uncompetitive methods, which led to significant financial losses for online publishers in the UK.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has termed the lawsuit as incoherent and sought to have the legal lawsuit dropped.

Google Confronts a Staggering $17 Billion Lawsuit for Alleged Online Ad Market Monopoly

However, the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London has deemed that the case can go on trial.

Former Ofcom director Claudio Pollack, now a partner in Ad Tech Collective Action, said,

“This is a decision of major importance to the victims of Google’s anti-competitive conduct in adtech. Google will now have to answer for its practices in a full trial.”

However, Google’s legal director, Oliver Bethell, termed the lawsuit as “speculative and opportunistic.”

Oliver said, “We’ll oppose it vigorously and on the facts.”

The lawsuit specifically talked about advertising technology a.k.a. adtech, which decides which online adverts people see, as well as how much they cost to publishers.

Such adverts are a huge source of income for numerous websites, and Ad Tech Collective Action says digital advertising spend reached $490 billion in 2021.

Since Google dominates web search, it is highly productive and a huge source of income.

The lawsuit alleged that Google abused this dominance and it also led to erosion of the income of the websites.

The lawsuit further alleged that Google practices self-preferencing, which means it vigorously promoted its own products and services more prominently than those of its rivals.

It led to publishers being paid less money for the ads they host as well as having to pay “very high” fees to Google.

Mr. Pollack said,

“I look forward to working with our legal and economic advisers to deliver compensation for years during which the relevant markets did not provide a competitive outcome for the UK publishing market.”

However, it will be a painstakingly long process before the lawsuit will reach its logical conclusion.

It has already taken eighteen months to get to this point, and no court date has been set.

Interestingly, the case comes under the category of opt-out, which means that all the affected UK publishers are included unless they decide to opt out of the lawsuit.

The UK publishers who form part of the claim will not have to pay costs to participate since it is funded by an anonymous third party.

Google is also facing probes by regulators in the UK, Europe, and the US into its ad tech business and has paid billions of dollars as fines imposed by the European Commission over what it labeled anticompetitive behavior.

Also Read: Manchester City Files Lawsuit Against Premier League Over Financial Rules

Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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