Google offers settlement in European digital advertising probe: report

Google offers settlement in European digital advertising probe: report
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Google has offered a settlement to the European Commission in its investigation over the tech giant's digital advertising practices, Reuters reported.

The governing body of the European Union opened its probe in June to determine whether Google is hurting competition by restricting third-party access to user data that it uses itself. The move followed a preliminary investigation that began in 2019.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Google has made a proposal to the commission but declined to provide details.

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The commission declined to comment to Reuters, and Google did not respond to the news outlet’s request for comment.

The Hill has reached out to Google and representatives for the European Commission for comment.

It’s still unclear whether Margrethe Vestager, the commission's antitrust head, is open to a settlement. Vestager has previously voiced a preference for sanctioning Google as opposed to negotiating a settlement, Reuters reported. 

According to the news outlet, EU antitrust cases have cost Google more than $9.4 billion in fines over its last three cases. The company has also been ordered to change its business practices to allow for greater competition.

Google generated more than 80 percent of its total revenues from digital advertising in 2020, parent company Alphabet said in its annual report. The company made $182.5 billion last year, meaning digital ads make up about $146 billion.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., two separate groups of state attorneys general are currently pursuing antitrust investigations into Google’s ad tech dominance.