Google: The European Commission opened an official antitrust investigation against Google on Tuesday (22). The EU interest representative seeks to analyze whether the web giant violated the organization’s competitive rules in its online advertising business. More specifically, the agency wants to know if the technology company is imposing barriers in the market to hinder its digital graphic advertising competitors, such as limiting access to user data.
News portals and blogs rely on digital graphic advertising to finance their content, often free. Google offers advertising services that carry out this “communication” between the site and companies that want to advertise their products.
The investigated is the largest digital advertising company in the world, earning up to US$ 147 billion in 2020, almost R$ 735 billion in direct conversion. By comparison, Facebook was in second place and earned around US$83 billion, approximately R$414 billion, in the same year.
Google is known for buying competition
The commission will determine whether Google is making access to visitor data “unique” to its services, making it impossible to compete in this area.
Over the past decade, Google has eliminated its competition in this industry through direct acquisitions such as buying DoubleClick, AdMob and AdMeld. Other recent decisions will also be investigated, including the intention to replace cookies by the intelligent FLoC system, which has been characterized by researcher Bennet Cypher, from the NGO Electronic Frontier Foundation, as “a black box of machine learning”.
This is the fourth antitrust investigation carried out against Google by the European Union in the last decade. The company has already had to pay €8 billion in fines, nearly R$47 billion in direct conversion.
There is no specific date for the disclosure of the results of this investigation. It will all depend on Google’s cooperation, the complexity of the case and the number of factors involved. You can check out the full list of practices that will be checked on the official EU website.