Google on Friday filed a motion in federal court to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by the state of Texas, the first time it has attempted to dismiss one of the government’s antitrust cases against the company in the United States.
In a filing, Google said the state failed to prove it engaged in anti-competitive behavior and failed to prove that an agreement between Facebook and Google, a centerpiece of the case, broke the law.
“We are confident that this case is factually and legally incorrect and should be dismissed,” said Adam Cohen, the company’s director of economic policy.
The Texas lawsuit argues that Google obtained and abused a monopoly over the labyrinthine array of systems that allow publishers to auction off ad space to marketers. States argue that Google misled publishers and advertisers about the nature of its ad auctions, allowing it to rake in more of the money flowing through its ad systems. And they say the company used a deal with Facebook to maintain its dominance as publishers tried to create an alternative system.
“Although a long body of complaints has accumulated, each of them boils down to a request for Google to share its data or design its products to help its competitors,” Google said in its filing.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement, “Google’s motion attributes its monopoly status to sheer success on the merits. The company, whose motto was once “Don’t Be Evil,” is now calling on the world to investigate their egregious abuse of monopoly and see, hear and speak no evil.”
Google faces pressure from governments around the world. In addition to the lawsuit from Texas and more than a dozen other states, the federal government and another group of states have sued the company for abusing an online search monopoly. On Thursday, a Senate committee approved an antitrust bill designed to crack down on some of its practices — along with those of Amazon and Apple — and European lawmakers in Brussels are considering their own new digital antitrust rules.
Google isn’t the first tech giant to try to dismiss a recent government antitrust case, either. Last year, Facebook asked a federal court to dismiss lawsuits brought by the Federal Trade Commission and a number of states. The judge in the case initially agreed. But the FTC refiled its lawsuit, and the judge said this month it could go ahead. The states have appealed.