Google could face EU antitrust lawsuit next year over its digital ad platform

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What you need to know

  • The EU's competition watchdog will reportedly file an antitrust lawsuit against Google next year.
  • Google's online advertising technology is being targeted by the EU over its market dominance.
  • The EU launched an investigation into Google in June of last year, citing concerns that it was favoring its own online advertising platform at the expense of competitors.

The EU could deal a major blow to Google's digital advertising platform next year by formally filing an antitrust lawsuit, according to Reuters, which cites sources familiar with the plan. The investigation started in June of last year when the European Commission probed Google's online ad technology for possible violations of the region's competition rules.

Google's ad tech platform has been a cause of concern for the EU's competition watchdog. Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission's executive vice president in charge of competition policy in the region, previously said that Google may be abusing its advertising dominance to make competing in online advertising services difficult.

Last November, the Mountain View-based tech behemoth reportedly attempted to settle the EU's antitrust investigation into its digital advertising platform in order to avoid a potential $18.2 billion fine. According to Reuters sources, the concessions offered by Google as part of the settlement were "minor and very preliminary." 

The report says the EU could file the lawsuit early next year. This means the search giant may face fines of up to 10% of its global revenue if the competition watchdog wins the case. This could be the fourth fine against Google in the EU amounting to more than a billion euros.

Google's ad technology also puts it at risk of a hefty fine in the United States, where the Department of Justice reportedly rejected its concessions to settle an antitrust lawsuit. Among the concessions was a proposal to split its ad tech business.

The EU's investigation is focused on whether Google restricted third-party access to user data used to power ads on websites and apps while keeping such data for its own benefit. According to Reuters, Google may make additional concessions to settle the investigation. 

Android Central has reached out to Google for comment and will update this article when we hear back.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.