Germany opens Google antitrust probe

Germany opens Google antitrust probe
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Germany’s antitrust watchdog announced Tuesday that it has launched two investigations into Google’s market power and handling of user data.

The agency will analyze whether Google and its parent company, Alphabet, have dominance in multiple markets.

“An ecosystem which extends across various markets may be an indication that a company holds such a market position,” Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office, said in a statement. 

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“Due to the large number of digital services offered by Google, such as the Google search engine, YouTube, Google Maps, the Android operating system or the Chrome browser, the company could be considered to be of paramount significance for competition across markets,” Mundt continued. 

The second investigation will focus on Google’s data processing terms and whether users have “sufficient choice” over how their information is managed. The Federal Cartel Office launched a similar investigation into Facebook in 2019 that is pending in court. 

Google spokesperson Ralf Bremer told The Hill the company will "cooperate fully" with the investigations.

"People choose Google because it’s helpful, not because they're forced to, or because they can't find alternatives," he added in a statement. "Consumers in Germany have enormous choice online and we give people simple controls to manage their information and limit the use of personal data."

The new attention from Germany adds on to existing regulatory scrutiny of Google, including from the U.S.

A Justice Department case against Google for allegedly illegally maintaining a monopoly on search and search advertising is ongoing.

Updated at 11:49 a.m.