Google was in the EU antitrust spotlight again on Tuesday as regulators opened an investigation into whether its digital advertising business gives the Alphabet unit an unfair advantage over rivals and advertisers.
The European Union competition enforcer’s move marks a new front against Google and follows more than EUR 8 billion (roughly Rs. 70,665.72 crores) in fines over the past decade for blocking rivals in online shopping, Android smartphones and online advertising.
The European Commission said it would investigate whether Google distorts competition by restricting third party access to user data for advertising purposes on websites and apps, while reserving such data for its own use.
“We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Google generated $147 billion (roughly Rs. 10,92,740.31 crores) in revenue from online ads last year, more than any other company in the world, with ads including search, YouTube and Gmail accounting for the bulk of its overall sales and profits.
About 16 percent of its revenue came from the company’s display or network business, in which other media companies use Google technology to sell ads on their website and apps.
“We will also be looking at Google’s policies on user tracking to make sure they are in line with fair competition,” Vestager added.
Google said it would engage constructively…