AT&T and the Department of Justice concerned with Google’s ad practices; possible antitrust case

AT&T and the Department of Justice concerned with Google’s ad practices; possible antitrust case
The Justice Department has recently been investigating Google over the fairness of its advertising business and online ad tools. Now, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, AT&T has decided to contribute to the investigation and speak to the DOJ, sharing its concerns with Google’s unfair advantage over the competition in the advertising sector.

In recent months, the department has been investigating the situation, asking questions to Google’s rivals and company executives, in regards to its third-party ad business and how it interacts with publishers and advertisers. However, Google had previously claimed that the ad tech industry is still competitive and crowded, stating that it considers the current ad marketplace a healthy one.

But why would AT&T get involved? It's not unheard of for competitors to speak to the DOJ when an investigation and possible antitrust case are being formed, and AT&T has recently been considering ways to take on Google and Facebook in the fight for ad market share. It's working on bringing forward its own advertising platform, Xandr.

Xandr is an advertising and analytics division of AT&T for buying and selling online advertising. It has been recently growing to potentially challenge Google and Facebook for ad money, even though its revenue still represented only 1% of AT&T’s total revenue of $181 billion for 2019.

Additional concern of the American network carrier with Google’s advertising practices is a tactic to discourage advertisers from contacting Google’s rivaling companies, such as rules requiring advertisers to use Google’s tools for purchasing video ads on YouTube. In the midst of the ongoing investigation, the Department of Justice has spoken with Wall Street Journal publisher News Corp, a longtime Google critic, along with New York Times Co., Nexstar Media Group Inc. and Condé nest.

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