The European Commission is working on one of its largest-ever investigations against Google. It examines the company’s position in the digital advertising market.
The investigation is not yet formal but is expected to start before the end of the year, sources familiar with Reuters’ case.
With a revenue of $147 billion, Google’s online advertising business is the largest in the world. It concerns the advertisements in the search engine, in Youtube, but also via its advertising networks. Those are the ads you see on websites and apps that run on Google technology.
While Google doesn’t technically have a monopoly, the company does have a very dominant position with its offerings and software in so many places that it’s hard to avoid Google. Because many parties are dependent on the company, it can stop competitors and therefore more easily raise its prices.
Europe has not commented on the potential investigation to Reuters. Google has not yet responded. The company has had to pay more than eight billion euros in antitrust fines in the past ten years, including its shopping results, Android and another aspect of online advertising.
If it effectively comes to an investigation and turns out to be to Google’s disadvantage, the company will look again at a fine that could run into billions of euros.