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Google is facing another lawsuit in the UK, this time from publishers who accuse the search giant of using its market dominance to limit the revenue they could earn from online ads.
The suit, filed on behalf of publishers by plaintiff Charles Arthur, claims that any future fines imposed by regulators will not help the companies that have allegedly suffered. Arthur has filed a collective claim with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) seeking certification that all relevant publishers are included in the case unless they opt out.
This suit, which is seeking £3.4 billion ($4.2 billion), is the second such case in the UK to be brought against Google over its adtech online advertising system. In November 2022, Claudio Pollack, the former director of the UK’s regulator Ofcom, brought a similar collective claim suit seeking up to £13.6 billion ($16.9 billion).
The UK’s two cases follow a lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice, along with eight US states, against Google over alleged abuse of “monopoly power”. The search giant is accused of buying rivals in order to “neutralize or eliminate” competitors, causing harm to competition and the competitive process.
The local Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator in the UK is also investigating Google’s dominance in mobile browsing, and its anti-competitive conduct in adtech. However, according to BBC News, the CMA does not have the power to make Google compensate those who have lost out. This is why plaintiff Charles Arthur is bringing this claim and seeking certification for all relevant publishers to be included in the case.
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Interestingly, the UK’s CMA has also suggested that Google is paying a portion of the revenues it gets via the Chrome iOS app to Apple but then redacted the information. As Google continues to face legal challenges both in the UK and abroad, it remains to be seen how these cases will play out and what impact they will have on the tech giant’s future operations.