The European Commission has recently concluded the preliminary phase of an antitrust investigation started in 2001 into Google, finding that the tech giant may have abused its dominant position in the online advertising market. The initial findings of the EU competition regulator suggest that Google is suspected of breaching EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in the advertising technology industry.
Favoring Its Own Ad Exchange Tool
In particular, the Commission found that Google, the leader in digital advertising, favored its own ad exchange tool, AdX, to the disadvantage of other competing advertising technology services, advertisers, and online publishers. As reported by EURACTIV , EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager stated that their investigation has shown that Google appears to have abused its market position by ensuring that both its intermediation tools on the buy-side and on the sell-side would favor AdX in the ‘matching’ auctions.
Google’s Right to Respond
Google now has the right to respond to these allegations before a final decision is made by the commission. As reported by Yahoo News , if the commission maintains its view after that, it could levy a fine of up to 10 percent of Google’s annual global revenues. The charges add pressure on Google over its dominance of the ad tech industry as it comes just months after US authorities sued the company for the same issue.