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“Google collects data to be used for targeted advertising purposes, sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising intermediary. Google is therefore present at almost every level of the supply chain for online display advertising. We are concerned that Google has made it more difficult for competing online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad technology stack, ”European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
As part of the new investigation, the commission will assess the restrictions that Google has placed on the ability of advertisers, publishers and other third parties to access data on the identity and behavior of users.
A Google spokesperson said by email: “Thousands of European businesses use our advertising products to reach new customers and fund their websites every day. They choose them because they are competitive and efficient. We will continue to engage constructively with the European Commission. to answer their questions and demonstrate the benefits of our products to European businesses and consumers. “
The announcement marks the official start of a comprehensive assessment of Google’s behavior in the ad space, with no deadline set for its completion. It also adds to a list of probes and fines that have taken place in the European market in recent years.
Earlier this month, the French competition authority fined Google € 220 million ($ 262 million) for abusing its market power in the online advertising industry.
The commission also fined Google € 1.49 billion in March 2019 for violating antitrust rules. At the time, the Brussels-based institution said the US firm had imposed restrictive covenants in contracts with third-party websites that prevented Google’s competitors from placing their search ads on those sites.