Google Says Merchants, Publishers Would Be Harmed by Texas Suit

Alphabet Inc.’s Google said the antitrust lawsuit filed by a group of states led by Texas over Google’s digital advertising business threatens to harm the ability of merchants to reach consumers and web publishers to earn money from their content.

Google said in court filing late Monday that advertisers and publishers have many choices for buying and selling ads, and choose to use the company’s technology because of the quality, not because they are forced to.

“The last thing this competitive marketplace needs is radical government intervention that would harm consumers and businesses, especially in the form of plaintiffs’ extreme demands to ‘break up’ a successful American company,” Google said.

The lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is one of three antitrust complaints filed last year by state and federal officials that accuse Google of abusing its dominance. The Texas case focuses on Google’s digital advertising business, while a Justice Department complaint and a separate state case target Google’s conduct in online search. Google is seeking to move the Texas case to federal court in California.

The Texas complaint accuses Google of reaching an illegal agreement with Facebook Inc. to shut out competition by manipulating the online auctions where ad space is bought and sold.

Google said in its response to the lawsuit that the Facebook agreement is legal and that its “procompetitive benefits clearly outweigh any alleged anticompetitive effects.”

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