Google’s parent company Alphabet may be about to receive another antitrust blow, with the EU planning to hold the tech giant to account over its AdSense advertising service.
Regulators are looking into whether the company makes it impossible for other companies to compete with its advertising service, saying that Google’s domination of the search market makes in unfair for others.
It’s thought that Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager could enforce a massive fine on the search giant, saying Google’s contracts make it impossible for businesses to use similar services with other platforms.
The case goes back to 2016, when the EU claimed Google unfairly prevented advertisers from accepting rival search ads and then restricted how ads were displayed since 2009.
However, Aitor Ortiz, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence doesn’t think the potential fine in this latest update will affect Google negatively as income for the company’s ad division is steadily decreasing anyway as the company focuses on other parts of its business.
“A fine isn’t likely to cause long-term harm to the company as AdSense has been replaced by other products,” he said. “If you look at the annual reports, AdSense is less and less relevant.”
This is just the latest investigation into Google’s practices, with other penalties relating to the way it preinstalls apps and services on its Android devices and unfairly skewing search results to favour businesses that use its Google Shopping advertising service.
To date, it’s racked up 6.7 billion euros in fines from the EU, its biggest in the Android case, accounting for 4.3 billion of the total penalty cost.