Google may face its biggest regulatory threat, as European Union antitrust regulators are set to open a formal investigation into its lucrative digital advertising business before the end of the year.
This constitutes a new front by the EU antitrust body against Google.
In the past decade, the agency has fined the company more than 8 billion euros ($9.8 billion). This is because it prevents competitors within the field of online shopping, Android smartphones, and online advertising.
And thereported Reuters reported that an EU investigation aims to focus on Google’s attitude toward advertisers, publishers, intermediaries and competitors, pointing to deeper scrutiny than the French antitrust case concluded last week.
Google made $147 billion in online advertising last year. More than any other company in the world.
Read also: Google adjusts Android selection screen in Europe
Advertising within its products, including search, YouTube and Gmail, accounted for the bulk of sales and profits.
About 16 percent of revenue came from the ad network. Other media companies use Google’s technology to sell ads across their websites and apps.
Google Ads Empire:
The US Department of Justice sued Google last year for abusing its control over search ads.
A group of states led by Texas in a subsequent lawsuit focused on anti-competitive behavior on the display side.
Read also: How to stop Twitter from selling your information to advertisers
France last week fined Google $268 million, along with various obligations over similar allegations related to its display business.
Google must also work with Britain’s competition regulator on upcoming software changes as part of a settlement.
The new investigation from the European Union could target the whole of Google’s advertising empire.
Market research firm eMarketer expects Google to control 27 percent of global online advertising spending this year. Including 57 percent for search ads and 10 percent for display ads.
Advertisers assert that Google’s various programs play a role in many aspects of the market that are impossible for the company to avoid.
Read also: Facebook faces investigations into classified ads
They say that Google takes advantage of the reliance of buyers, sellers and intermediaries on it to obtain high commission on all sides and prevent competitors from competing with it fairly.
In a survey sent to Google’s competitors and third parties earlier this year, the EU watchdog questioned whether advertisers receive discounts when they use Google’s intermediaries that allow advertisers or media agencies to buy ad inventory from multiple sources.