According to the latest news, the European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation onto Google. The organization is investigating whether the search giant unfairly favours its own online display advertising technology over other competitors. This was formally announced by the EU today. They will also investigate whether Google is unfairly limiting access to user data to its competitors.
As per Reuters, this is going to be an important investigation because it covers Google’s core online advertising business that generated $147 billion in revenue last year. According to Bloomberg, this is the first time that the EU has taken an initiative to investigate Google’s online display advertising business where it serves as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers to fill ad space on web pages and apps.
The European Commission’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement, “Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, it sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary.
So Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising, we are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack. We will also be looking at Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition. We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete”
The European Commission said it is exploring several advertising practices of Goggle such as requiring advertisers to use Google’s Ad Manager to display ads on YouTube and favoring its ad exchanges. The investigation will also look into Google’s plans of phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome as part of its “Privacy Sandbox” plan.
The news about this formal investigation comes at a time when Google is already facing similar antitrust scrutiny in the US. Back in October 2020, the US Justice Department filed antitrust charges against the company alleging about illegal monopolization of the search and ad markets.
This is the EU’s latest antitrust action against Google. Previously, the organization has investigated Google’s online shopping services, its Android policies, and its AdSense contracts. It is worth noting that just in the last decade, the EU has fined Google over €8 billion which is around $ 9.5 billion over various antitrust violations.
On the other hand, Google said it would “engage constructively” with the European Commission. In a statement, the company said, “Thousands of European businesses use our advertising products to reach new customers and fund their websites every single day. They choose them because they’re competitive and effective.”
Meta: Google is hit with a new antitrust investigation by the EU.