Alphabet unit Google on Friday became the target of an antitrust complaint by the European Publishers Council over its digital advertising business, which could potentially strengthen EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s investigation into the issue.
Google Earned $147 billion in revenue from online ads in 2020, more than any other company in the world, with ads including search, youtube And Gmail accounting for the bulk of its total sales and profits.
About 16 percent of its revenue comes from the company’s display or network business, with other media companies using Google technology to sell ads on their websites and apps.
The European Commission launched an investigation in June into whether Google backs its online display advertising technology services to the detriment of rivals, advertisers and online publishers.
The publishers’ trade body, whose members include Axel Springer, News UK, Condé Nast, Bonnier News and Editorial Prensa Ibérica, filed its complaint with the European Commission, alleging that Google’s press is an edtech stranglehold on publishers.
“The time has come for the European Commission to impose measures on Google that truly change, not just the challenge, but its behavior,” EPC chairman Christian Van Thilo said in a statement.
“With Google gaining complete control of the ad technology value chain, the market share in segments of the ad technology chain has grown to 90-100 percent,” he said.
Vestager, who has fined Google more than 8 billion euros (about Rs 68,640 crore) for anti-competitive practices in three cases in recent years, last year launched an investigation into Google’s digital advertising business.
Google has said it will engage constructively with the commission.
© Thomson Reuters 2022