Google facing yet another antitrust probe, this time for display ads

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Google logo

Oh Google, what are we going to do with you? The internet giant is facing yet another antitrust probe over its display advertising business and its effects on competition, reports Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Google is using its dominance in United States’ US$17.7 billion display ad industry to steer the competition in its favour by pushing companies to use more of its other services.

The investigations are only preliminary at this stage and may not end up in a full probe into the company’s advertising practices. However, leveraging its position in display ads can be considered illegal under antitrust laws, according to people familiar with the matters.

Google, earlier this year settled a massive antitrust probe with the FTC after agreeing to voluntarily change some of its business practices and settle allegations that it misused patents to thwart its opposition in the smartphone wars.

The company was also cleared on search bias claims but that didn’t give it breathing room as the rest of world has conducted more probes into its business practices in other regions. “Google has been drawing regulatory scrutiny around the world as it bolsters its market share of digital advertising,” says Bloomberg.

Canada’s Competition Bureau is preparing to start a formal inquiry into Google’s search practices, the company disclosed last week. The European Union is investigating Google for the way it operates the search business and also has opened a probe into its handset unit, Motorola Mobility, over the licensing of its patents to rival device makers. Antitrust agencies in Argentina and South Korea are also scrutinizing the company.

Though Google’s advertising is not as big as its search business, it has been aggressively gaining market share in the last few years through strategic acquisitions.

So far Google has declined to comment on the matter.



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