Facebook and Google agreed to "cooperate and assist one another" if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week. [...]
A Google presentation said if the company couldn't "avoid competing with" Facebook, it would collaborate to "build a moat." [...]
For years, criticism of Google's online advertising empire has focused on how the company leveraged its powerful consumer-facing platforms, such as Google Search and YouTube, to take over another lucrative but less visible business: the software that acts as a middleman for buying and selling ads across the web.
The Facebook allegations add a new wrinkle -- that Google cut a deal with a competing middleman, one that the states describe as Google's "largest potential competitive threat."
They also represent a potent legal risk. Under U.S. law, agreements to fix prices can be easier to prove than the states' other accusations -- namely that Google is maintaining an illegal monopoly.
In addition to the suit filed in Texas, Google was hit last week in a separate antitrust lawsuit joined by 38 attorneys general, which alleged that it maintained monopoly power over the internet-search market through anticompetitive contracts and conduct.
I feel like there's a term for this.