Media houses sue Google for $2.3b

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Google is facing a substantial legal challenge as 32 media companies, including prominent names like Axel Springer and Schibsted, have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, seeking damages of $2.3 billion (2.1 billion euros). The lawsuit, which has been filed in a Dutch court, alleges that Google's practices in digital advertising have led to significant financial losses for these media companies. They claim that Google's dominance in the market has resulted in a less competitive environment, causing the media companies to earn lower advertising revenues and pay higher fees for ad tech services than they would have in a more competitive market. The media companies argue that without Google's abuse of its dominant position, they would have been able to reinvest the additional funds into strengthening the European media landscape. The lawsuit is supported by instances of regulatory action against Google, such as the French competition authority's 220-million-euro fine in 2021 for similar issues related to its ad tech business, and the European Commission's charges against Google last year. The group of media companies includes publishers from various European countries such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. They have chosen to file the lawsuit in the Netherlands due to its reputation as a key jurisdiction for antitrust damages claims in Europe, which also helps to avoid multiple claims in different countries. Google has responded to the lawsuit by stating that it is speculative and opportunistic, and has expressed its intention to vigorously oppose the claims. The company has also highlighted its role in helping publishers across Europe through its advertising tools, which are also used by many competitors to fund content and reach customers.
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