Anti-Competition: EU regulators investigate Google for abusing advert tech power

*European Union regulators allege tech giant Google abuses its power as the leader in the online advertising space, demanding a level-playing field so advertisers have an equal chance

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For alleged unfair competition with other advertisers in the online advertising segment, the European Union (EU) has preferred another anti-trust allegation against global tech giant Google.

It is gathered that in just a couple of years back, the EU regulators opened a probe into how Google handled user data.

It is now purporting that the technology giant and leading search engine abuses its power as the leader on the virtual advertising platform.

By all indications, it will be the most sweeping investigation yet into that sector of the company.

The EU is focusing primarily on whether Google favours its own online display advertising technology services over offerings from other companies.

Antitrust investigations into U.S. companies are becoming old hat for the EU. It’s already gone after Apple for breaking antitrust rules and unfair dominance with its App Store policies. Amazon was also put under scrutiny for antitrust violations over how it uses its Marketplace data.

On the need to create a level-playing field, report indicates that the most recent Google investigation will take a hard look at whether the company is distorting competition by restricting third-party access to user data for advertising purposes on Web sites and mobile apps while reserving that data for its own purposes.

Google currently has a distinct advantage in this competitive space because it provides advertising technology services that work as a hand-off between advertisers and publishers in order to display adverts on Web sites or mobile apps.

Margrethe Vestager, EU Executive Vice-President on Competition Policy, said: “Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services.

“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.”

Vestager stated what is important is that there’s a level-playing field that affords every company the same opportunities.

The EU Executive Vice-President on Competition Policy also noted: “Fair competition is important ─both for advertisers to reach consumers on publishers’ sites and for publishers to sell their space to advertisers, to generate revenues and funding for content.

“We will also be looking at Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition.”

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