Google Faces Yet Another Antitrust Complaint in the EU

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Google with 5 Comments

I’m losing track here, but Google now faces yet another antitrust complaint in the EU, with the European Publishers Council (EPC) complaining about its advertising dominance.

“It is high time for the European Commission to impose measures on Google that actually change, not just challenge, its behavior, behavior that has caused and continues to cause considerable harm, not just to Europe’s press publishers, but to all advertisers and eventually consumers in the form of higher prices (including ad tech fees), less choice, less transparency, and less innovation,” EPC Chairman Christian Van Thillo said in a stunning run-on sentence. “Competition authorities across the world have found that Google has restricted competition in ad tech, yet Google has been able to get away with minor commitments which do nothing to bring about any meaningful changes to its conduct. This cannot go on. The stakes are too high, particularly for the future viability of funding a free and pluralistic press. We call on the Commission to take concrete steps right now that will actually break the stranglehold that Google has over us all.”

The EPC is calling on EU antitrust authorities to hold Google accountable for its anticompetitive conduct in advertising and impose remedies that it says will restore conditions of effective competition in the ad tech value chain. The organization charges that Google has “embarked on a barrage of unlawful tactics to foreclose competition in ad tech” since its 2008 DoubleClick acquisition and now owns between 90 and 100 percent of that market in Europe.

“Google’s ad tech suite is rife with conflicts of interests, as Google represents the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, while also operating the auction house in the middle, and selling its own inventory,” the complaint explains. “Far from managing its conflicts, Google has time and again taken advantage of its position to prioritize its own self-interests at the expense of the very customers it is supposed to serve.”

It also points to relevant findings from other similar antitrust complaints against Google involving the French competition authority, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and several U.S. States.

You can learn more on the EPC website.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Google Faces Yet Another Antitrust Complaint in the EU”

  1. wright_is

    Well, there is at least a conflict of interest, with Google running the bidding platform and the placement of the ads, and buying its own ad space for its own products from itself... But the statement from van Thillo is a little wishy-washy...


    And that is before you get into tracking and other areas...

  2. lvthunder

    I don't believe the 90-100% number. Meta alone has to have better than 10% of the ads between Facebook and Instagram.

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