oh The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to sue Google by September, said Bloomberg according to sources of information about the matter. The indictment will be the culmination of years of work by the DOJ to file a case against tech giant Alphabet for illegally dominating the digital advertising market.
Attorneys working in the DOJ’s antitrust division will interview representatives of publications and content producers in new rounds of conversations to update facts and add additional elements to the complaint. Three people involved in the conversations asked Bloomberg not to be identified because of the ongoing investigation.
Some interviews have already been conducted, while others are scheduled for the next few weeks, the two said. They build on previous investigations carried out in an earlier phase of the long-running investigation, the people said.
The ad tech complaint, which Bloomberg said was ongoing last year, would mark the DOJ’s second case against Google following the government’s 2020 action, which accuses the tech titan of dominating the online search market by violating antitrust laws.
It’s unclear whether prosecutors will file the suit in federal court in Washington, pending the search process, or in New York, where state prosecutors have their own antitrust case over Google’s ad tech business.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
“Our ad technologies help websites and apps monetize their content and help small businesses reach customers around the world,” said Google spokesman Peter Schottenfels. “Massive competition in online advertising has made advertising more relevant, reduced ad tech costs and expanded options for publishers and advertisers.”
The federal probe into Google’s digital advertising operations stems from the Trump administration. Then-Attorney General William Barr sued the Mountain View, California-based company over its search business, alleging the company used exclusive distribution agreements with wireless carriers and phone manufacturers to stifle competition.
In December 2020, attorneys general from 16 states and Puerto Rico sued Google, alleging that it had a monopoly on the online digital advertising market. Google denies the allegations and has asked a federal judge to dismiss the states’ claim. A hearing on that request is scheduled for later this month.
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