EU launches major investigation into Google's advertising policy

EU launches major investigation into Google’s advertising policy

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google is facing a very large investigation into its advertising business. A new front has been opened in the ten-year antitrust war.

“Technology really is a high priority for us, given how much of the familiar has changed over the past 12 months.”– said Ms Vestager on Friday at the Eurocommerce online event organized by the Association of European Retailers, referring to the consequences of the imposed quarantine. She pledged to use all the antitrust instruments of the European Commission to achieve fairness in the market.

Google’s advertising ecosystem is one of a series of technology investigations it has named. Also mentioned were an investigation into Apple’s app store and payment system, Facebook’s data management and marketplace, and an investigation against Amazon on how controlling vendor data could allow the company to significantly reduce its retail risks.

In January, regulators compiled information on Google’s ad tech value chain practices by interviewing European publishers and ad firms. The EU has been conducting a survey of Google’s data practices since 2019 and has now expanded the scope to analyze Google’s plans to end the use of cookies, a move that has been among publisher complaints and is now under scrutiny by the UK antitrust authorities.

Margrethe Vestager previously said that she is interested in Google’s advertising business, trying to fully understand it and help people who are unhappy with its operation. In January, she said she didn’t know if regulatory agencies would open a formal investigation to look more closely at the issue.

The Danish politician has already fined Google more than € 9 billion in three previous major antitrust investigations that found the company broke the law in organizing its trading services, Android operating system and advertising business. Regulators have also looked into Google’s travel and map search services.

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