Jessica Goodfellow
Nov 29, 2019

Google sued by adtech outfit over alleged anti-competitive practices

The antitrust investigations against Google are mounting.

Google sued by adtech outfit over alleged anti-competitive practices

US adtech firm Inform has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google claiming it has been "effectively put out of business" as a direct result of the search giant's alleged anticompetitive practices.

The Atlanta-based business, which was acquired by Bright Mountain Media earlier this year, claims it was generating revenues from online advertising in excess of US$100 million between 2014 and 2016.

But since then, it claims "Google has effectively put Inform out of business as a direct result of the illegal conduct described herein", according to legal documents filed November 25.

The lawsuit goes on to detail a "pattern of anticompetitive practices" by Google, which has "thwarted competition" and harmed businesses.

"The result has been to eviscerate competition in multiple markets, harm consumers, degrade consumer choice and consumer privacy, and stifle innovation," the document reads.

The lawsuit joins a long list of antitrust investigations brought against Google, including one active investigation launched by the US Department of Justice in July as part of a broad antitrust review of the four major tech giants: Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Google is also being investigated over possible antitrust violations by 50 US attorney generals (from all US states except California and Alabama). The investigation was opened in September and initially was focused on its advertising practices, but has seen been expanded to examine its Android and search businesses too.

European lawmakers fined Google for the third time over antitrust breaches in March. The €1.49 billion (US$1.7 billion) was issued by the European Commission over "abusive practices" in Google's AdSense for Search platform, which included blocking rivals Microsoft and Yahoo from selling ads in Google search results pages.

In the UK, the Information Commissioner's Offfice is investigating Google for alleged infractions of GDPR. The search giant was fined EUR€50 million in January by the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) for issues relating to data processing.