Google and its parent company Alphabet were sued by 130,000 website and mobile app publishers in the UK today. The lawsuit is accusing Google of abusing its dominant position in the online advertising business and causing damage to competitors. They claim that Google’s actions are causing billions of dollars in losses. The plaintiffs said in a complaint filed with Britain’s Competition Appeal Tribunal that Google and its parent company abused their dominance in online advertising at the expense of tens of thousands of website and mobile app publishers across the UK. At the expense of making huge profits for themselves.
Earlier this year, Google lost a similar case in France. Google has been fined 150 million euros ($156 million) in France. The fine is for allegedly unfairly treating customers who use its online ad platform. In response, Toby Starr, a partner at the law firm Humphries Kerstetter, said these fines and other cases around the world are not enough to stop Google’s unfair behaviour.
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“None of these regulatory actions will be enough to make up for the thousands of website and mobile app publishers in the UK who have lost billions of dollars in ad revenue as a result of Google’s actions,” Starr said in a statement. Starr also adds… “The only way to recover these losses is to initiate an antitrust class action.”
Google is under several investigations
As early as June last year, the EU announced an investigation into Google’s online ad business. This case is to assess whether it violates the EU’s fair competition law. The European Commission said at the time that the case aims to assess whether Google used technical means to suppress competitors in the field of online ads. The EU probe focuses on whether the company distorts competition in the market by restricting third-party companies access to user data while keeping it for its own use.
EU Antitrust Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said at the time that Google not only collects ad data, and sells ad space, but also acts as an online ad “middle man”. It also exists in almost all links of the online ad supply chain. This makes it difficult for competitors in the online ad services space to compete fairly. At the moment, there is no comment from the company with respect to this lawsuit.