European regulators are reportedly set to slap Google parent Alphabet with a fresh antitrust complaint targeting the tech giant’s lucrative digital advertising business.
The latest formal charges against Google are expected to be unveiled on Wednesday by the European Commission, the European Union’s antitrust body, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
The complaint will “target the core” of Google’s “ad tech business model” in what is expected to be the “most significant in the current five-year mandate of the European Commission,” sources familiar with the matter told the outlet.
The upcoming slate of charges would mark another regulatory setback for Google parent Alphabet, which also faces a slate of major antitrust actions in the US aimed at various segments of its business empire.
Google has already been hit with three penalties in the European Union worth $8.6 billion since 2017.
The sum included a record fine of more than $4 billion over Google’s business practices relating to its Android operating system. Google is still challenging that penalty in court.
Google’s digital advertising behemoth accounts for a whopping 80% of the company’s annual revenue. In 2022 alone, Google generated approximately $225 billion through online ad sales.
A spokesperson for Google declined to comment.
EU antitrust officials have been investigating Google’s digital ad tech model since 2021, according to the report. Authorities probed whether Google unfairly blocked competitors from accessing user data for their own digital advertising efforts.
As of April, 17 states had joined the Justice Department’s antitrust division in a federal lawsuit accusing Google of holding a monopoly over the digital advertising market.
The lawsuit alleges that Google uses “anticompetitive, exclusionary and unlawful means to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies.”
The DOJ argues that Google should be forced to sell its ad manager suite entirely. The company has denied engaging in anticompetitive business practices and asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit.
In the US, Google faces a separate federal antitrust lawsuit targeting its search business that is slated to proceed to trial in September.
The feds are also probing the company’s Google Maps business and whether it stifled competition by requiring app developers to use its map and search products within its terms of service.
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