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DOJ’s Google Ads lawsuit further exacerbates Alphabet’s legal troubles

 


Oops, Nellie. The federal government finally dropped the big one on Google and they got cavalry on their side.

Justice Department officials and eight state attorneys general on Tuesday unveiled an expected massive lawsuit against Google, accusing Alphabet of illegally using its dominance in the ad tech market to punish competitors and They claimed it drove up costs for marketers, publishers and consumers. Federal prosecutors want to force Google to split up its advertising business as punishment. This includes the sale of the Ad Manager suite and Ad Exchange.

The lawsuit stems in large part from Google’s chaotic influence over the digital advertising ecosystem, which revolves around split technology. Google essentially acts as a provider, intermediary and auctioneer of digital advertising. Along the way, Alphabet receives various fees, advertises on its own content platform, and collects valuable data on consumer habits. All of this contributes a significant portion of his ad revenue, which will reach $147 billion in 2021.

Google, one of the industry giants, has become a major force in the ad tech industry by engaging in a coordinated campaign to seize control of the wide range of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers and brokers to facilitate digital advertising. It has corrupted legitimate competition, writes federal prosecutors. with their complaints. Having entered every aspect of the digital advertising market, Google has used anti-competitive, exclusive, and illegal means to eliminate or significantly reduce threats to its dominance in digital advertising technology.

Google countered on Tuesday that the Justice Department lawsuit underestimated the competitiveness of the digital advertising ecosystem, saying any effort to force a sale would undermine years of innovation and make the ad market less efficient. Google executives also noted that the DOJ is trying to wind up two Google acquisitions. The acquisition cost about $3.5 billion, which the Federal Trade Commission approved more than a decade before him.

The DOJ’s 149-page lawsuit seems deeply researched and chock-full of useful details about Google’s business and internal communications, but it doesn’t reflect much on the organization.

If this lawsuit does go to trial, it could ultimately come down to antitrust law and the vagaries of the digital advertising market topic, which is frankly outside my expertise. Google’s longtime critics seem downright cheery about the merits of the lawsuit, but its usual defenders aren’t as outspoken as usual. The Chamber for Progress, a big tech advocacy group, released a snarky statement on Tuesday, alluding to Google’s shrinking market share and the recent Alphabet layoffs (which, at best, are irrelevant).

We have plenty of time to analyze the details of the DOJ lawsuit. But at least this lawsuit speaks to the unprecedented nature of government pressure on Google.

Over the past few years, the big tech giant has weathered the antitrust storm fairly comfortably thanks to the unfriendly FTC, the chaotic DOJ, and the reckless Congress.

Today, a (almost) unified bipartisan front is finally willing to challenge the industry.

The Federal Trade Commission and DOJ’s antitrust division are led by die-hard Big Tech critics who have presidential powers to curb Big Tech. Scores of Republicans have joined the lawsuit, and another lawsuit filed by a dozen state attorneys general targeting Google’s ad dominance is the most recent, if the Republicans take back the White House in 2025. It’s a decent sign that they won’t drop the lawsuit. And Congress, well, Congress still, as shown by last year’s introduction of the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act by two senators, Republicans and Democrats. There are at least signs of bipartisan interest in tackling Google’s ad dominance.

The collective desire means Alphabet will struggle to run out of clocks in court, either by drying up underfunded government agencies or waiting for the political winds to turn.

That leaves us with two main choices for the alphabet. Either fight or negotiate. And early signs on both fronts aren’t the best for Google. A federal judge in September dismissed most of Google’s motions to dismiss related lawsuits filed by state attorneys general. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported that the DOJ rejected Google’s offer to split off part of its ad tech business in an attempt to block it. Tuesday filing.

All of this makes Alphabet, a company with few allies left in government, a very imminent battle.

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Jacob Carpenter

newsworthy

bottom and outside. According to CNBC, Microsoft released mixed results for the holiday quarter, underperforming forecasts at the beginning of the year and reporting that the stock fell 3% in midday trading on Wednesday. Earnings in the second quarter of the fiscal year slightly beat Wall Street expectations, but earnings fell short of analyst targets and third-quarter growth projections were below market expectations. The company also dealt with a brief cloud outage Wednesday morning that brought down some products such as Teams and Outlook for several hours.

Make it rain in the desert. Tesla on Tuesday announced plans to spend about $3.6 billion to add semi-truck and battery cell capacity to its Nevada factory complex, according to Reuters. The investment follows questions about the slow rollout of Tesla’s semi-truck, which was originally scheduled to be available in 2019 but didn’t debut until last month. Tesla officials say the cell factory will produce enough batteries for two million small cars each year.

Tipping with some cash. The UK government plans to provide billions of dollars in government subsidies to British semiconductor companies, recently joining several countries that have allocated funds to support domestic chip makers. British officials hope the funding will reduce domestic exposure to China, which continues to pose a threat to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest advanced chip producer. A source familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg that the figure is in the billions of pounds.

There is no prospect of salvation. Texas Instruments released its earnings forecast for the quarter on Tuesday, which fell short of analysts’ expectations and fueled concerns about a prolonged downturn in the semiconductor industry, Barrons reported. Chipmakers forecast first-quarter revenues of $4.17 billion to $4.53 billion, while Wall Street expected the midpoint to be around $4.4 billion. Texas Instruments just barely beat its earnings and earnings estimates for the fourth quarter.

food for thought

Works of OpenAI. If you’re looking for the latest in the ChatGPT-OpenAI-Microsoft saga or some interesting tidbits about generative AI, Fortunes Jeremy Kahn has a credible article on his early 2023 dominant storyline. I’m here. (Albeit well-funded) Turning a lab into a disruptive Big Tech force, ruffled a few feathers, and questioning the impact of AI along the way, co-founder leads this initiative It’s Sam Altman, his CEO and CEO. A serial tech entrepreneur known for his business savvy more than his engineering feats, he has built a highly valuable company while warning about product limitations.

From the article:

With ChatGPT, Altman turned OpenAI and its broader AI mission into a fascination for the tech world.

The question is whether the partnership he’s forged with Microsoft will fix ChatGPT’s flaws and take advantage of early leads to transform the tech industry. Google and other big companies are working hard to develop their own AI platforms. And in the future, more sophisticated software could make ChatGPT look like child’s play. OpenAI, much like Netscapes’ short-lived browser dominance, may one day find that its breakthrough has opened the door to a future it’s not a part of.

in case you missed

Discover seven startups and labs that are leveraging generative AI to power ChatGPT. By Jeremy Kahn

Who gets a better deal in Microsoft’s $10 billion partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI?, by Jeremy Kahn

Partys overNetflix Ends Password Sharing By End Of March, by Chris Morris

ChatGPT turned out to be very good at creating online propaganda: I think the obvious thing is a lot of trouble in the wrong hands, by David Klepper and Associated Press

Elon Musk Takes Testimony for More Than Three Hours, Arguing With Lawyer in Tesla Trial, Judge Says One of His Statements Is Inappropriate (by Michael Liedtke and Associated Press)

Twitter reversed course two weeks after implementing timeline changes, says Chris Morris

Musks’ Twitter still has a GodMode that allows any engineer to tweet from any account, the whistleblower claims.

before going

Disclaimer. Given the confluence of stressors, including Alphabet’s layoffs, lawsuits, and questions about its AI strategy, I think company management will be looking at his ROI over the long term. Unfortunately, according to records reviewed by CNBC, Google’s parents’ job cuts include his 27 massage therapists scattered across his California offices in Mountain View, Los Angeles and Irvine. . With layoffs not expected to start until the end of March, CEO Sundar’s shoulders will remain relaxed on his Mr. Pichai for a little while longer. (Full disclosure: I don’t know if he participates in the company’s massage services. I honestly don’t want to know.)

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://fortune.com/2023/01/25/google-alphabet-doj-federal-lawsuit-advertising-attorney-general/

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