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Rupert Murdoch has been on a worldwide crusade against the Google’s dominance in online advertising, and there’s some indication that it’s coming to America. According to the Irish Times, Murdoch’s newspaper company News Corp has been meeting with the justice apartment, and attorney general William Barr is preparing an anti-trust lawsuit against Google:
The justice department, led by attorney general William Barr, is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company, according to a person familiar with the matter. News Corp representatives have met privately with the justice department about the investigation.
Last week, a trade group for news organisations that is chaired by a senior News Corp executive published a research paper outlining how Google has leveraged its dominance to take publishers’ content and drive traffic without compensating them under copyright laws. The trade group, the News Media Alliance, sent the report to the justice department.
There’s an oligopoly in online advertising. Google and Facebook controlled it as a duopoly for awhile, but Amazon has also made major headway in recent years. Facebook sells ads that are contained in their own platforms, including Instagram. Google and Amazon have ads on their own controlled platforms as well — this includes YouTube for Google — but they also sell display ads on web sites across the internet, taking a hefty cut as a middleman.
Amazon is limited in the sense that they want to sell their own goods. This is constrained to ads for things that they sell, which thus doesn’t begin to include services or big ticket items like cars and homes. Then there’s travel — hotels, flights, rental cars. It goes on and on. Thus, Google is positioned as by far the easiest way that those advertisers can reach scale on sites across the internet, and that also gives them a lot of power over publishers.
Murdoch’s crusade against Google has in part led the company to be fined $1.7 billion by the European Union, and ordered to pay news publishers in Australia. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that the justice department led by Barr was planning for a lawsuit against Google this summer. Trump has railed against all the big tech companies on numerous occasions.
As an aside, it’s kind of interesting that Murdoch is lobbying President Trump’s justice department at the same time when he reportedly believes Trump will crash and burn in the election and Trump is feuding with Murdoch’s Fox News network.