FILE - Google

In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo people walk by a Google sign on the company's campus in Mountain View, Calif. 

(The Center Square) – Colorado is part of an antitrust lawsuit brought by the federal government against Google, citing the company’s control of the digital advertising industry.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The complaint alleges that Google “has acted unlawfully to monopolize the publisher ad server market in the United States, “violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

“Today’s complaint alleges that Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “No matter the industry and no matter the company, the Justice Department will vigorously enforce our antitrust laws to protect consumers, safeguard competition, and ensure economic fairness and opportunity for all.”

In addition to Colorado, the DOJ is joined in the lawsuit by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement that the lawsuit’s goal is to “restore competition” in digital advertising.

“Google has taken control of both sides of the ad-tech market, establishing a dominant position with respect to both buyers and sellers of digital advertising,” Weiser said. “Because Google controls many of the tools in digital advertising and takes higher fees on transactions than would be rivals, website publishers make less on advertising revenue, advertisers are forced to pay more for ad placement, and overall consumers are harmed by higher prices and less innovation.”

“We are taking action by filing this lawsuit to unwind Google’s monopoly and restore competition to the digital advertising business,” he added.

Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, told The Center Square that "consumers in Colorado and across the country are already facing big threats to their pocketbooks from inflation, interest rates, and a potential recession."

"Attorneys general shouldn't be adding to their citizens' troubles by piling onto government lawsuits that will crush the online services which are helping families cope in an uncertain economy," he said. "State AGs need to be focusing on genuine consumer harms online, such as identity theft, rather than burning tax dollars on court battles that will backfire on the very people they are claiming to protect. The real threat to competition is not from our tech sector, but from foreign countries that unfairly subsidize their tech sectors."

Colorado is also part of a lawsuit challenging how Google handles in-app purchases.

Regional Editor

Derek Draplin is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as an opinion producer at Forbes, as an editor at The Daily Caller, and as a reporter at Michigan Capitol Confidential and The Detroit News.