A federal judge in the United States has cleared Facebook and Google of collusion in connection with an online marketing agreement, while also permitting the ongoing antitrust lawsuit against the latter to continue.
According to The Verge, the Jedi Blue agreement (opens in new tab) violated no laws because of Facebook''s desire to use its economic clout as an advertising to drive its hardest deal, and that Google was motivated by Facebook''s legitimate, pro-competitive desire to obtain as much business as possible.
Facebook avoided header bidding, a practice that allows businesses to do their own auctions for advertising space in exchange for higher placement in Google''s own advertising listings.
Because both companies were seen to have taken action in their own individual interests, the pact was not intended to collusion.
Googles antitrust woes
Although both companies have been cleared of legal wrongdoing, the renewed focus on the Jedi Blue deal - first revealed through a new antitrust lawsuit filed against Google in 2020 - has highlighted the trust that a limited number of large tech organizations have in regards to online content advertising.
Google posted in an online blog post (opens in a new tab) claiming that the dismissal of allegations of collusion about the Jedi Blue deal demonstrates that this latest antitrust case, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is deeply flawed. It also claimed that much of the case has now been ruled in its favor.
However, the tech giant isn''t in the clear yet. Google''s dismissal has been postponed, claiming that the states that filed the case waited too long to do so until later in the proceedings. He alleged that the authorities have justified that a number of Googles practices within its operating of ad servers and ad exchanges are anti-competitive.
One of these practices was Google''s project Bernanke''s secret operation (opens in a new tab), a program that generated hundreds of million dollars in revenue over several years by using previous bid data from the company''s ad exchanges to gain advantage over competitors, making it simpler for Google to win bids at ad auctions.
Google is no stranger to antitrust lawsuits either. In 2020, the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company, and is reportedly contemplating filing another lawsuit once again after intrudering the case over the years that Google''s parent company Alphabet Inc. had monopolized the field of digital content marketing (via Bloomberg (opens in a new tab)).
The Department of Justice published in its first complaint that American consumers are required to accept Google''s policies, privacy practices, and the use of personal data, and that new businesses with innovative business models cannot emerge from Google''s long shadow.