Tech

Google CEO Sundar Pichai signed deal at center of antitrust case, states say

Google’s chief executive has approved a deal with Facebook at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit that 16 states and Puerto Rico have filed against the search giant, according to part of the lawsuit revealed Friday.

The trial, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argues that Google obtained and abused a monopoly over the network of technology used to serve online advertisements.

When publishers began using an alternative system to sell their ad space, Google worked to undermine it by creating a similar system it controlled, the lawsuit alleges. The states argue that Google struck a deal with Facebook to have the social network join its efforts to “kill” the publishers’ competing plan.

In the newly unredacted portion of the lawsuit, filed in federal court, States said Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO since 2015, “also personally signed the terms of the agreement.”

The newly visible parts of the lawsuit also include details of programs states say Google used to mislead buyers and sellers of ad space about the precise nature of the auctions they were participating in, allowing Google to earn more. money in the process.

A Google spokesperson said the complaint was “still full of inaccuracies and lacking in legal basis.”

“We sign hundreds of deals every year that don’t require CEO approval, and this was no different,” the spokesperson said.

In another part recently made public, the states cite a “Facebook document” from February 2017 that says Google wanted to “kill” the competing system and that Facebook “branding their product will help significantly.”

At one point, Facebook employees working on the deal sent an email to Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, saying “We’re almost ready to sign and need your approval to go ahead. before”. Mr. Zuckerberg’s name is still removed from the lawsuit, but his title is not.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said its agreement with Google “and similar agreements we have with other auction platforms have helped increase competition for ad placements. “.

The antitrust lawsuit is one of many filed by government agencies against tech giants over the past two years. The Department of Justice and a group of states sued Google, arguing that it abused a monopoly on online search. This week, a judge said the Federal Trade Commission may move forward with a lawsuit against Facebook. Apple and Amazon are also the subject of antitrust investigations.

The judge hearing the case said Google has until January 21 to respond to the latest version of the lawsuit. Google plans to ask the judge to dismiss the case, its spokesperson said.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai signed deal at center of antitrust case, states say

Source link Google CEO Sundar Pichai signed deal at center of antitrust case, states say

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