Texas Beats Google’s Push to Toss Out Ad Tech Antitrust Suit

(Bloomberg) -- An antitrust suit by state attorneys general accusing Alphabet Inc.’s Google of monopolizing the technology underlying online advertising can move forward, a New York federal judge ruled.

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Judge P. Kevin Castel said Tuesday the bulk of the states’ antitrust lawsuit can proceed, though he dismissed one claim against the search giant. Google sought to dismiss the case, arguing that all of the conduct that the states target is legal.

Attorneys general for 16 states plus Puerto Rico sued Google in 2020 for monopolizing the advertising technology market. The states, led by Texas, alleged that Google entered into a secret deal, nicknamed Jedi Blue, to give Meta Platforms Inc. advantages on the exchange it runs to buy and sell online ads. In exchange, the social media company abandoned plans to adopt a new type of technology that would have undercut Google’s online advertising monopoly.

Castel dismissed that claim, saying “there is nothing inexplicable or suspicious” about what led the companies to enter into the agreement.

The states also alleged that Google manipulated the auctions held on its exchange in ways designed to ensure its own products nearly always won.

The case is In re Google Digital Advertising Antitrust Litigation, 21-md-03010, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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