European Commission opened an antitrust examination into Google’s ad unit

On Tuesday, the European Commission’s executive arm has opened a new investigation into Google for examining whether the tech giant has now favored its own online display ad technology services, and thus breached the antitrust rule.

European Commission Executive Vice President 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.”

Other than New probe, the commission will be assessing the restrictions which Google has imposed on the capability of advertisers, publishers, and including third parties for accessing the data regarding the user identity and user behavior.

A spokesperson of Google mentioned, “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. We will continue to engage constructively with the European Commission to answer their questions and demonstrate the benefits of our products to European businesses and consumers.”

Moreover, this announcement has marked the official beginning of the complete assessment of how Google behaves in the advertising space without a set deadline for its completion. Further, it also added to a list of probes and fines which have taken place in the current year in the European market.

Prior to this month, the French competition authority has already fined Google around 220 million euros for abusing the market power in the online ad industry.

In March 2019, the commission has even imposed an almost 1.49 billion euro fine on Google for breaching the antitrust regulations. At that time, the Brussels-based institution mentioned that the U.S. tech giants had already imposed restrictive clauses in contracts with the third-party websites which prevents Google’s rivals from placing their search ads on these websites.

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