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Google's Adtech Business To Undergo Stringent EU Antitrust Probe

  • The E.U. antitrust regulators are set to open an investigation into Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Google’s digital advertising practices, Reuters reported.  
  • The regulators are expected to open the investigation by the end of 2021. 
  • The E.U. competition watchdog has fined the company more than $9.8 billion for blocking rivals in online shopping in the last decade.
  • Last week, France settled with Google for $268 million and various commitments over allegations related to the network business.
  • European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said that Google faces an “extensive investigation” into its advertising business, adding a new front to a decade-long antitrust battle, Bloomberg reported. 
  • The E.U. has been examining Google’s data practices since 2019 and has widened the scope to look at Google’s plans to phase out third-party cookies, the report says. 
  • The investigation would focus on Google’s position vis-a-vis advertisers, publishers, intermediaries, and rivals. 
  • In 2020, the U.S. Justice Department also sued Google for abusing its dominance in search ads.
  • A group of states led by Texas has filed a lawsuit focused on anti-competitive behavior on the network side of the company.
  • According to the market researcher eMarketer, Google will control 27% of global online ad spending in 2021, including 57% for search ads and 10% for display.
  • Google has made $147 billion in revenue from online ads in 2020, more than any other company in the world. About 16% of the revenue came from its display or network business.
  • Advertisers and rivals have claimed that dependence on Google gives the company an unfair advantage, which allows the company to extract high fees from all sides and block rivals.
  • Price Action: GOOG shares closed 0.64% lower at $2,511.35 on Friday.

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