Judge dismisses Google and Meta’s ‘Jedi Blue’ deal lawsuit

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed one of the allegations against Google’s ad deal with Meta, dubbed ‘Jedi Blue’.

Multiple US states led by Texas sued Google in September 2020, alleging that it had engaged in anti-competitive activities to safeguard its ad business, by providing Meta with various advantages on its ad exchange so that it would terminate its plans to create its own ad service.

Earlier this month, Google’s attorney Eric Mahr said at a hearing that the deal is neither illegal nor anti-competitive as it doesn’t bar Facebook from using other ad exchanges.

As reported by Bloomberg, Judge P. Kevin Castel on Tuesday dismissed one of the claims in the lawsuit, saying that Google and Meta had valid reasons to make the deal.

The states’ allegations are not plausible because they fail to adequately account for Facebook’s motivation to use its economic clout as an advertiser to drive the hardest bargain it could with Google, and that Google was motivated by the legitimate, pro-competitive desire to obtain as much business as possible from Facebook,” the judge wrote.

However, he also ruled that the lawsuit can proceed with the other allegations focusing on Google’s monopoly in the ad-tech market.

Google released a blog post on Tuesday regarding the decision, and said it highlighted how the Texas attorney general AG Paxton’s case is ‘’deeply flawed’’.

As we’ve long said, advertising technology is a fiercely competitive industry — and our products increase choice for publishers, advertisers and consumers while enabling small businesses to affordably find new customers. We look forward to setting the record straight about the remaining claims,’’ said the company.

On Wednesday, South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Commission fined Google and Meta billions of won for violating the country’s privacy law.

Google also lost its appeal against a record-breaking $4 billion EU fine that it received in 2018 for abusing its market power and harming competition.

Written by Sophie Blake

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