European Commission lodges new antitrust complaints against Google involving Adsense
The new complaint also accuses Google of abusing its dominant position by favoring its own comparison shopping service in the company’s search pages
The search giant Google is probably wondering this morning if there might be a Brexit for tech companies after the European Commission once again filed complaints against the company of behavior it sees as anticompetitive.
“The Commission has sent two Statements of Objections to Google. The Commission has reinforced, in a supplementary Statement of Objections, its preliminary conclusion that Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages,” the EC said in a statement.
The commission also said that Google has abused its dominant position in search by restricting third party websites from displaying search ads from the company’s competitors.
“If our investigations conclude that Google has broken E.U. antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets,” said the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
The EC pointed to Google’s Adsense, the advertising platform, for three areas where it was exhibiting anticompetitive behavior:
- Exclusivity: requiring third parties not to source search ads from Google’s competitors.
- Premium placement of a minimum number of Google search ads: requiring third parties to take a minimum number of search ads from Google and reserve the most prominent space on their search results pages to Google search ads. In addition, competing search ads cannot be placed above or next to Google search ads.
- Right to authorise competing ads: requiring third parties to obtain Google’s approval before making any change to the display of competing search ads.
Google said it would respond to the new charges in the coming weeks.
In late June, German publishers appealed German court’s rejection of a case against Hoogle in which the publishers accused Google of abusing its search dominance by refusing to pay them for displaying newspaper articles snippets online, It was the latest attempt by a group of European publishers to get Google to create a revenue line for them, moves that previously have resulted in Google pulling the search results of publishers, and forcing publishers to retreat.