Google’s Ad Business Focus In EU Antitrust Probe

Google is battling anti-monopoly regulators on both sides of the Atlantic and the European Union is reportedly about to turn up the heat. 

Antitrust regulators in the bloc are set to launch an investigation into Google’s lucrative ad business by the end of the year, Reuters reported, building on three other antitrust probes that have resulted in $9.8 billion in fines so far.

Google dominates the digital advertising market worldwide, taking in 27.5 percent of all global ad spending. Its share of the US ad market last year was 28.9 percent, according to the firm.

The search giant’s share of online advertising, however, is much greater. In 2019, the European Union estimated that Google’s market share of online display ads was more than 85 percent between 2006 and 2016.

Advertising brought Google $147 billion in revenue last year — about 80 percent of the company’s total income. Ads on Google’s own properties including search, YouTube and Gmail made up the bulk of Google’s ad sales and profits last year. About 16 percent of revenue came from its display or network business, through which other media companies use Google technology to sell ads on their website and apps.

The EU’s antitrust watchdog asked Google rivals and third parties earlier this year if advertisers receive rebates when they use Google intermediaries, which allow advertisers or media agencies to buy advertising inventory from many sources, according to a questionnaire seen by Reuters.

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