Brussels has opened a formal antitrust probe against Google to examine whether the US group has broken EU rules by giving an advantage to its own online display ad technology services, to the detriment of rivals.
The investigation will look into whether Google is “distorting competition by restricting access by third parties to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving such data for its own use”, the European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Online advertising services are at the heart of how Google and publishers monetise their online services,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy.
“Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising,” she added. “We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack.”
More to follow . . .