Alphabet unit Google on Friday became the target of an antitrust complaint by the European Council of Publishers over its digital advertising business, which could potentially bolster EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s investigation into the matter. .
Google earned $147 billion in revenue from online ads in 2020, more than any other company in the world, with ads such as search, YouTube and Gmail accounting for the bulk of its overall sales and profits.
About 16% of its revenue came from the company’s display or network business, in which other media companies use Google technology to sell ads on their website and apps.
The European Commission opened an investigation in June into whether Google favors its own online display advertising technology services over its online competitors, advertisers and publishers.
The publishers’ trade body, whose members include Axel Springer, News UK, Conde Nast, Bonnier News and Editorial Prensa Iberica, has filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging that Google has an adtech hold on news publishers.
“It is high time for the European Commission to impose measures on Google that actually change, and not just challenge, its behavior,” EPC Chairman Christian Van Thillo said in a statement.
“Google has achieved end-to-end control of the ad tech value chain, with market shares reaching 90-100% in segments of the ad tech chain,” he said.
Vestager, which has fined Google more than 8 billion euros ($9.2 billion) in recent years for anticompetitive practices in three cases, last year launched the investigation into the activity of Google digital advertising.
Google said it would engage constructively with the Commission.