European publishers file complaint against Google’s advertising tech

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The European Publishers Council is accusing Google of anticompetitive digital advertising practices, according to a complaint filed Friday with the European Commission. 

The council is calling on the commission, which is already investigating Google’s advertising technology, to take action against the search giant to “break the stranglehold that Google has over us all.” 

“Competition authorities across the world have found that Google has restricted competition in ad tech, yet Google has been able to get away with minor commitments which do nothing to bring about any meaningful changes to its conduct. This cannot go on. The stakes are too high, particularly for the future viability of funding a free and pluralistic press,” European Publishers Council Chairman Christian Van Thillo said in a statement. 

The council argues that since Google acquired DoubleClick more than a decade ago the ad tech space has not been competitive. 

A Google spokesperson said publishers benefit from its advertising tech services. 

“When publishers choose to use our advertising services, they keep the majority of revenue and every year we pay out billions of dollars directly to the publishing partners in our ad network, the spokesperson said in a statement. 

In 2020, Google’s parent company Alphabet brought in $147 billion in revenue from online ads, more than any other company in the world, Reuters reported. 

The latest complaint could bolster European Commission antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s investigation into Google’s advertising services. 

The European Commission in June opened a new investigation into Google to assess if the California-based tech giant favored its own display ad technology services in a way that breaches EU antitrust rules. 

Under Vestager, the commission has fined Google more than 8 billion euros, or $9.2 billion, in recent years for anti-competitive practices, Reuters reported. 

— Updated at 5:11 p.m.

Tags Advertising Alphabet Alphabet DoubleClick Europe fines Google Google Margrethe Vestager

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