The EC competition authority is once more soliciting preparatory input from Google’s rivals.
The European Commission is inching closer to what could be a massive fine for Google over its advertising technology, according to POLITICO.
The report says that Google may soon receive a “statement of objections” from the European Commission asserting that the tech giant may have unfairly favored its own online display advertising technology to the detriment of rivals. This is according to two people who spoke to POLITICO “on condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the case”.
EU officials have recently made formal requests to Google’s ad tech rivals to submit “nonconfidential evidence” for their case against the search engine behemoth. These requests usually precede the issuance of the Commission’s statement of objections. Such a statement is a formal step in a legal process that that could result in fines of up to 10 percent of annual revenue, according to EU competition regulations.
Google is a favourite target of the EC
The EC’s case against Google results from a probe opened in June 2021. That was when the Commission started scrutinizing how Google may have restricted their competitors’ access to user data for online advertising while keeping that data for its own use.
The Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager said in an official statement at the time that “Google is present at almost all levels of the supply chain for online display advertising. We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack. A level playing field is of the essence for everyone in the supply chain”.
It sometimes seems that Google is a perennial villain in the Commission’s eyes. The company has faced over €8 billion in EU antitrust fines over the past decade.