£13.6 Billion Google Advertising Lawsuit in the UK to Proceed to Trial
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£13.6 Billion Google Advertising Lawsuit in the UK to Proceeds to Trial

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal has ruled that Google’s advertising lawsuit can proceed to full trial. According to the BBC, Google is caught up in a £13.6 billion legal battle. It is alleged that the tech giant asserted dominance in the adtech space. 

This action caused significant losses to ad publishers in the UK. The advertising lawsuit was filed by Ad Tech Collective Action LLP. 

Push to Drop Case

In a bid to get the case dropped, Google’s parent company had said the case was incoherent. But, the London-based Competition Appeal Tribunal decided to move the case to full trial.

Former Ofcom Director and Ad Tech Collective Action Partner, Claudio Pollack said, “This is a decision of major importance to the victims of Google’s anti-competitive conduct in adtech. Google will now have to answer for its practices in a full trial.”

The legal director at Google, Oliver Bethell, has said that the tech giant will oppose the lawsuit. In his statement, Bethell said the Google lawsuit is opportunistic and speculative. 

Unfair Competition

For many websites, hosting ads is a major source of revenue. According to Ad Tech Collective Action, digital ad spending hit a high of $490 billion in 2021. Google benefits immensely from digital advertising. This is because the tech giant dominates online search. 

The advertising lawsuit Google faces is about the technology it uses to decide which adverts people view online. The technology also decides how much publishers should pay. At its core, the lawsuit alleges that Google used its online dominance to reduce the income that websites get from digital ads. 

The tech giant is accused of doing this by promoting its services and products more than it did for other rival companies. This means that ad publishers pay high fees to Google, but earn very little from the ads they host. 

“I look forward to working with our legal and economic advisers to deliver compensation for years during which the relevant markets did not provide a competitive outcome for the UK publishing market,” Mr. Pollack said.

Other Legal Battles 

The Google advertising lawsuit comes as other regulators are probing its adtech businesses. The regulators include the European Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. 

The tech giant is also facing two other legal suits in the US. One suit has been initiated by Texas and other states, and the other by the Department of Justice. Both lawsuits accuse Google of anti-competitive behavior. 

Google denies self-preference allegations in UK legal documents. The company says its impact on advertising has been largely pro-competition. 

The decision to move the case against a tech giant to full trial is the latest the Competition Appeal Tribunal has made recently. Earlier this year, the tribunal approved a $1 billion lawsuit against Apple. The tribunal also certified another $3.8 billion lawsuit against Meta.

John Katz
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