People familiar with the matter said that Alphabet’s Google may face the biggest regulatory threat, and EU antitrust regulators will launch a formal investigation into its lucrative digital advertising business before the end of the year.
This will mark a new front for EU competition enforcers against Google. In the past decade, the company has fined the company more than 8 billion euros ($9.8 billion) (approximately Rs 72,661 crore) for blocking competitors in the areas of online shopping, Android smartphones and online advertising.
One of the people familiar with the matter said that the EU’s investigation will focus on Google’s position relative to advertisers, publishers, intermediaries and competitors, which shows that its review is more in-depth than the case concluded by the French antitrust agency last week.
Google’s online advertising revenue last year was 147 billion U.S. dollars (approximately 10.8 billion rupees), more than any other company in the world. Advertising on its assets (including search, YouTube and Gmail) accounted for the majority of sales and profits.
Approximately 16% of its revenue comes from its display or network business, and other media companies use Google technology to sell advertisements on their websites and apps.
Both units were attacked. Last year, the US Department of Justice and some states sued Google for abusing its dominant position in search advertising. A group of states led by Texas focused on anti-competitive behavior in the housing network in subsequent lawsuits.
France reached a US$268 million (approximately 19.87 billion rupees) settlement with Google last week, and made various commitments on similar allegations related to online businesses, and the department must also work with the British competition regulator on the upcoming Software changes are made in close cooperation as part of the settlement.
The committee declined to comment. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A new EU investigation may eventually target all of Google’s advertising empire. Market researcher eMarketer predicts that Google will control 27% of global online advertising spending this year, including 57% of search ads and 10% of display ads.
Although these numbers may not seem monopolistic at first glance, advertisers and competitors believe that Google’s various software plays a role in many aspects of the market and the company cannot avoid it.
They said that Google took advantage of the dependence of buyers, sellers and intermediaries on it, charging high fees from all parties and preventing competitors from competing fairly.
In a questionnaire sent to Google competitors and third parties and seen by Reuters earlier this year, EU regulators asked whether advertisers would receive rebates when using Google intermediaries. Google intermediaries allow advertisers or media agencies Buy advertising inventory from multiple sources.
Thomas Hoppner, a partner at the law firm Hausfeld, said that the committee should close ongoing cases before starting a new case. He advised several complainants against Google.
“From a practitioner’s perspective and an industry perspective, when other authorities investigate Google’s advertising technology, it seems to be equally important to end the investigation of local search and Google’s job search,” he said.
© Thomson Reuters 2021