A €25 billion (£21.6 billion) case against Google in the EU and UK accuses the internet company of engaging in anticompetitive behaviour in the digital advertising sector.
The business, which controls the sale of online advertising space between publishers and advertisers and is a major participant in the online ad industry as well as search, is charged of misusing this authority.
In the EU complaint, Damien Geradin of the Belgian law firm Geradin Partners stated that “publishers, especially local and national news media who play a fundamental role in our society, have long been affected by Google’s anticompetitive activity.”
Although the procedure could take years to complete, the UK law firm Humphries Kerstetter plans to submit a case to the competition appeal tribunal over the next month. The UK’s competition watchdog is also looking at Google’s influence in the market for digital ad technologies.
The action, which seeks to recover advertising revenue lost as a result of Google’s allegedly anticompetitive behaviour over a period of years, will not only be intended to assist news sites, according to Toby Starr, a partner at Humphries Kerstetter.
“This significant lawsuit will speak for a group of individuals who have lost an estimated £7 billion as a result of Google’s anti-competitive behaviour in the ad tech industry.
The thousands of small company owners who rely on advertising revenue, whether it comes from their fishing website, culinary blog, football fanzine, or other online material they have spent time building and distributing, include news websites across the nation with substantial daily readerships.
While the EU lawsuit will be filed in the Netherlands will be “opt in,” meaning potential claimants must request to join the suit, the UK claim will be “opt out,” meaning that impacted persons will be automatically treated as part of the claim. Starr predicted that “many thousands” of UK parties will be included in the claim.