Alphabet Faces $17.4 Billion Lawsuit Over Alleged Advertising Market Abuses

Google Suspends Politics-Related Ads in South Korea Ahead of General Election

Key Points:

  • The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal has certified a $17.4 billion lawsuit against Alphabet over alleged abuses in the online advertising market.
  • The lawsuit, brought by Ad Tech Collective Action, represents UK publishers claiming financial losses due to Google’s alleged anti-competitive behavior.
  • Google attempted to block the case, arguing it was incoherent, and maintains that its impact on the ad tech industry has been pro-competitive.
  • The lawsuit adds to ongoing regulatory probes into Google’s ad tech practices by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet (GOOGL.O), is set to face a lawsuit worth up to 13.6 billion pounds ($17.4 billion) for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online advertising market. London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) ruled on Wednesday that the case, which seeks damages for publishers of websites and apps based in the United Kingdom, can proceed to trial.

The claim, brought forward by Ad Tech Collective Action, represents publishers who assert that Google’s anti-competitive behavior has caused them significant financial losses. Last month, Google attempted to block the case, arguing it was incoherent and without merit. However, the CAT found sufficient grounds to certify the case for trial, although it is unlikely to commence before the end of 2025.

In its ruling, the CAT highlighted that the threshold for certifying a case under the UK’s collective proceedings regime—similar to the United States’ class action system—is relatively low. This decision underscores the tribunal’s stance that the case merits a thorough examination in court.

Google’s legal team has strongly rejected the allegations, asserting in court documents that the company’s actions within the ad tech industry have been highly pro-competitive. Despite these claims, the CAT’s decision reflects a broader trend of increased scrutiny and legal challenges against major tech companies’ business practices.

Ad Tech Collective Action’s lawsuit emerges amid ongoing investigations by regulators into Google’s ad tech operations. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission are investigating the company’s market conduct. These regulatory investigations add to the mounting pressure on Google, which is also defending itself against two significant lawsuits in the United States. The Department of Justice has brought one lawsuit, while another involves Texas and several other states, all accusing Google of anti-competitive practices.

The CAT’s decision is part of recent legal actions against tech giants. Earlier this year, the tribunal certified a $3.8 billion case against Facebook parent Meta (META.O) and a nearly $1 billion case against Apple (AAPL.O). These cases reflect a growing willingness among regulatory bodies and courts to challenge the business practices of dominant technology firms.

Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding the CAT’s latest ruling. Given its potential implications for the ad tech industry and the regulation of digital markets more broadly, the case will likely attract significant attention as the legal battle unfolds.

TechGolly editorial team led by Al Mahmud Al Mamun. He worked as an Editor-in-Chief at a world-leading professional research Magazine. Rasel Hossain and Enamul Kabir are supporting as Managing Editor. Our team is intercorporate with technologists, researchers, and technology writers. We have substantial knowledge and background in Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Embedded Technology.

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