US judge denies Google's motion to dismiss advertising antitrust case

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WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge on Friday denied Google's motion to dismiss a Department of Justice antitrust case focused on advertising technology, saying the government's case was strong enough to go forward.

The government, which filed the ad tech lawsuit in January, has argued that Google should be forced to sell its ad manager suite. Google has denied any wrongdoing.

"I'm going to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss," Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a federal court in Virginia. Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O).

Google's motion is the company's latest effort to end costly, time-consuming antitrust lawsuits. It also asked a federal court in Washington to dismiss claims in a 2020 lawsuit filed by the government.

Arguing for Google, Eric Mahr said that the Justice Department failed to allege a high enough market share, 70%, to be able to say that Google had market power.

Brinkema, however, said that there were factors beyond market share to consider, for example if a company was guilty of "rapacious conduct."

Brinkema also took issue with Mahr's argument that the government had reviewed Google's deals to buy DoubleClick and Admeld, both more than 10 years ago, to increase its clout in ad tech, noting that the government said it made a mistake.

Mahr also argued that the Justice Department failed to show that advertisers suffered any damages because of Google's actions. He also said the government improperly excluded Facebook and others in its definition of the market, calling them "obvious substitutes."

Reporting by Diane Bartz

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