The European Commission has launched a formal antitrust inquiry into Google, examining whether the company violates EU competition rules by favoring its own online advertising services over similar bids from competitors.
In one statement, the European Commission said that the formal investigation will examine whether Google has cut off competition by restricting third parties (advertisers, publishers or competitors on the Internet) from accessing user data for advertising purposes on websites and applications, while maintaining this data for its own use.
"Google collects data for use in targeted advertising, sells advertising space and also acts as an online advertising broker. Therefore, Google is present at almost every level of the online advertising chain, "said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission.
"We are concerned that Google has made it more difficult for competing online advertising services to compete with the so-called ad tech stack. "Equal conditions of competition are essential for everyone in the chain."
Specifically, the research will look at how Google uses some of the ad serving services, such as Display & Video 360 (DV360), Google Ads, AdX, and Doubleclick ID.
The committee will also look at Google's announced plans to remove third-party cookies in Chrome and replace them with the Privacy Sandbox, as well as pending changes to advertising IDs on Android.
If Google is found to favor its own online advertising services over others, the company could face fines for violating Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibit the abuse of a dominant position in competitive agreements. which hinder, restrict or distort competition within the EU.
Google is also facing three antitrust lawsuits in the United States accusing the company of abusing its market power on several occasions. The allegations against Google range from rearranging search results to eliminating competition, colluding with Facebook to manipulate the digital ad market, and anti-competitiveness in digital ad markets.