Revised lawsuit alleges Google of coercion to dominate ad business

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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A group of US states, led by Texas, has filed an amended complaint against the tech giant, Alphabet’s Google, accusing the company of using coercion and breaking antitrust rules in its drive to expand its already dominating advertising business.

The charges are the latest in a string of regulatory probes into Google’s business operations. Several lawsuits have been filed against the tech giant, including one filed by the Justice Department for monopolistic practices.

Google is accused of utilizing monopolistic and coercive tactics with advertisers in its attempts to dominate and drive out competitors in online advertising, according to a revised U.S. lawsuit filed in a federal court in New York. Earlier this week, Google lost an appeal against a $2.8 billion European Union antitrust decision.

The lawsuit also highlights Google’s use of “Project Bernanke,” a secret program that used bidding data to give its own ad-buying an advantage in 2013. In a 2015 iteration of the program, for example, Google allegedly withdrew the second-highest bids from publishers’ auctions, amassed money in a pool, and then spent that money to inflate only the bids of advertisers who used Google Ads. They otherwise would have likely lost the auctions, the states alleged.

Meanwhile, the UK Supreme Court last week blocked a proposed $4.3 billion class action against Google over allegations that the internet giant unlawfully tracked the personal information of millions of iPhone users.

Recently, the tech giant reached a market capitalization of $2 trillion making it one among Amazon and Microsoft to reach the milestone. Despite being hit by antitrust lawsuits and probes many times, the company is expanding its global portfolio.

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