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Google asks a judge to dismiss Texas antitrust lawsuit about its ad business

Google filed a motion Friday asking a federal court to dismiss most of the counts in an antitrust lawsuit led by the state of Texas. In the filing, the company argued that the Texas lawsuit isn’t “credible” and that the state failed to establish that the company’s ad business has run afoul of antitrust laws.

“AG Paxton’s allegations are more heat than light, and we don’t believe they meet the legal standard to send this case to trial,” Google Director of Economic Policy Adam Cohen wrote in a blog post. “The complaint misrepresents our business, products and motives, and we are moving to dismiss it based on its failure to offer plausible antitrust claims.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the suit, which alleges that Google illegally maintained a monopoly in online advertising, in late 2020. Texas updated the suit with a new complaint last week that was first filed in November but redacted at the time, before a judge ordered the details of the complaint to be made public.

Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Kentucky and Puerto Rico have also joined the lawsuit seeking to hold the tech giant accountable.

Google claims that Paxton “overlooks, or misstates, a litany of clear facts,” including allegations that the company made a deal with Facebook to maintain its online ad dominance by crushing an emerging ad buying process called “header bidding.”

According to reporting from The New York Times, Facebook announced the relationship in 2018 but did not disclose that Google granted its competitor “special information and speed advantages to help the company succeed in the auctions that it did not offer to other partners — even including a guaranteed ‘win rate.’”

Mired in its own antitrust woes, Meta similarly asked the court to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit that could force the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, but a judge ruled earlier this month that the FTC’s refiled suit would be allowed to proceed.

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