By Leah Nylen & Sara Forden, Bloomberg
The US government may never get a better chance to rein in Google. Its lawsuit to break the company’s chokehold on the digital advertising market was more than a decade in the making and will set the tone for antitrust enforcement for years to come.
It also represents the culmination of one man’s life work. Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter, 49, has spent the bulk of his career seeking to limit the economic harm caused by giant tech platforms that thwart competition. Now he’s in a position to make it happen.
Since his start as a young antitrust lawyer in Washington, Kanter has focused on the online world and Google in particular, becoming one of the most knowledgeable and respected legal experts on how the biggest companies exploit data from users and business partners to churn out rich profits.
The roots of the case brought by Kanter go back more than a decade, and the dispute is likely to last well beyond his time at the agency and perhaps the Biden administration itself. The lawsuit filed last week in Virginia federal court seeks to end Google’s dominance of the ecosystem that underpins much of online advertising by forcing parent company Alphabet Inc. to sell off parts of its ad business and unwind three key acquisitions, including the pivotal 2007 purchase of online advertising giant DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.