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BizReport : Law & Regulation : October 22, 2020

Experts: What government filing against Google means for digital space

This week word came that the United States Justice Department was filing suit against Google in an antitrust case, perhaps with the goal of breaking up the digital giant. The filing has many in the digital space what this could mean not only for Google but for other digital giants like Amazon and even social networking brands like Facebook.

by Kristina Knight

Why now with this particular filing?

"There's a great reason that the DOJ's suit is so focused on Search and Search Marketing. The DOJ has a tremendous track record of solving the last century's problem. This action is no exception. Currently, in the digital media industry, Google has set itself up superbly to dominate not only just the vertical adtech chain, but also to dominate ownership of consumer identity. They've done it in a way that makes Google impervious to regulation, whether it be GDPR, CCPA, or any other letters you prefer," said Mike Woosley, COO, Lotame.

You can read more about the filing here.

What ever changes do come from this likely won't be felt for a while. Google has teams of lawyers, as does the US government, which will tie up the suit for years in all likelihood. That could change if the two entities come to a settlement of some sort.

"The new administration could also have a material impact on how aggressively the case will be pursued. Yet there's a bipartisan consensus that Google, and its peers, are too powerful and need to be reined in. So there's very little chance that nothing will happen or that Google will emerge completely unscathed, unless it wins an outright victory at trial," said Greg Sterling, VP of Insights, Uberall. "It's very much a watch and wait situation."

"The DOJ indeed made a meaningful move against Google now, focusing on search, which is the easier and faster case to sue for. Additional moves against Google may come later. This dynamic can and will impact how brands are thinking about their future stack partners, making independence even more important," said Zvika Netter, CEO & Co-Founder, Innovid.

And, while there is little digital or traditional brands can do to prepare for whatever fallout may come, Sterling believes that Google won't be the only tech giant impacted by lawsuits such as these.

"Amazon and Facebook are likely to be next, in some form. The arguments against them are equally strong in their respective markets, as the House antitrust subcomittee report illustrated a couple of weeks ago," said Sterling.

"Google's market concentration creates a direct threat to the viability of a voice for independent digital media. That's a direct threat to the accessibility of unbiased news and information. Lotame doesn't advocate "trust-busting," because that process has a long history of failure and unintended consequences," said Woosley.

Tags: advertising, Amazon, antitrust lawsuit, ecommerce, Facebook, Google, Google antitrust case, google lawsuit, Innovid, Lotame, Uberall, US department of justice

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