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Google’s digital advertisement unit to face EU antitrust probe

Global public trust in the trade practices of tech giants is fast thinning, even as antitrust organizations in the European Union have announced that they will formally be launching an investigation into Google’s digital advertisement behaviour as soon as the end of this year.

This probe is special in potentially being the biggest ever threat looming over Google. The company raked in revenues worth a whopping $147 billion last year through its ad business alone, the highest any company earned during the period.

Google’s Services for Ad Displays

Google's digital advertisement

Image : Google

In fact, most of the sales registered by Google, who is a subsidiary of parent company Alphabet, were on its own services, including Gmail, Search, and YouTube. Around 16% of the revenues generated came from other media firms using the Google platforms for selling their ads to the world.

As per the news first reported by Reuters, if the probe ends up in a fine, it will add to the fines of more than 8 billion dollars that Google has faced at the hands of the EU during the past decade. The major reasons for the same have been anticompetitive practices, like preventing rivals in Android smartphones, online shopping, and online advertising.

The new investigation will primarily focus on the relation Goigle shares with its “advertisers, publishers, intermediaries and rivals”, as per a source contacted by Reuters.

Not the First Time

Only last year, the Justice Department in home market United States too, filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, on grounds of abusing its strong hold on market shares to push back competitiors in the ad business. Another suit was later filed by some of the country’s States, most notably Texas, on charges of anti-competitive actions by the company.

Meanwhile, Google only recently managed to settle a suit with French authorities, which last week issued a fine of $268 million to the firm, along with a number of commitments for taking appropriate action on accusations pertaining to its network business. Additionally, the unit has also been directed to work in collaboration with the agencies in Britain, regarding certain software changes on Google’s part.

Only last week, it was also revealed separately by the UK and Japan that a probe would be launched into an alleged “duopoly” enjoyed by Sundar Pichai-led firm and Apple on the smartphone market. These allegations might soon end up just the tip of the iceberg, if a fine ends up being imposed by EU on Google’s digital advertisement unit.

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