Google Combat Antitrust Week push away on Friday he came to an appropriate conclusion with the company that filed a movement discard large parts an antitrust case filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a coalition of other states. Among other things, new complaint filed last week accused Google of colluding with Facebook (now Target) to give it an unfair advantage in Google’s ad program auctions as part of a project unusually called “Jedi Blue”. Facebook would, as part of an alleged quid pro quo, agree to abandon its own advertising plans. The complaint goes so far as to claim that Google’s Sundar Pichai — both Meta Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg — all signed the agreement.
This is clearly not the way Google sees it. In the request, Google claimed that the states had failed to prove that they had engaged in any anti-competitive behavior. Instead, the company described the examples filed in the complaint as nothing more than a “collection of complaints”. Instead, if states had their own way, Google says, then the search giant would be forced to “share with its competitors the fruits of its investment and innovation”. Google went on to claim that some of the alleged behaviors cited by states ended several years ago, making the claims irrelevant.
“The complaint of state prosecutors – fueled by a handful of Google competitors who failed to invest properly, compete successfully or consistently innovate – could serve the narrow interests of those rivals,” Google wrote in the proposal. “But it also threatens to stifle the momentum that drives Google and other companies to deliver products that companies and consumers depend on every day.”
Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, published an accompanying blog fast providing more details on the company’s decision to apply. In it, Cohen specifically accused Paxton of making “inaccurate and inflammatory accusations” that misrepresent Google’s business, products and motives. Cohen dismissed a handful of allegations made in Paxton’s lawsuit, particularly those about alleged collusion with Facebook.
Google is saying this publicly announced Facebook Audience Network (FAN )’s participation in the open bidding program (along with at least 25 other partners) back in 2018. Google argued that Facebook’s participation in these auctions is actually beneficial to both advertisers and publishers, rather than anti-competitive.
“In fact,” Cohen wrote, “that FAN was not part of Open Bidding, AG Paxton may have argued that we are preventing rivals from accessing our products and denying publishers additional revenue.”
Finally, Cohen reiterated Google’s view that Facebook does not give an advantage over other competitors bidding, “FAN [Facebook] it competes in the auction like other bidders. ”
As noted above, Google’s proposal comes during a week of vigorous lobbying against other antitrust laws efforts slipping through Congress. Google has specifically challenged the U.S. Innovation and Online Choice Act, which, if passed, would make it illegal for the largest technology Internet companies to unfairly favor their products and services on their platforms. In some cases, Google CEO Sundar Pichai allegedly personally contacted several MPs urging them to oppose the law. In the end, those efforts failed. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted by a large majority (16-6) to improve the law.