Google faces third battle with regulators as they turn sights on ad business

European regulators brought a third anti-trust charge against Google on Thursday, accusing it of blocking rivals in the lucrative online search advertising market. The European Commission also reinforced its existing charge against the world’s most popular Internet search engine that its search results favour Google’s own shopping service over that of rivals. There are now three EU cases against Google in total, with charges being filed in April over its Android mobile phone operating system. The tech giant has ten weeks to respond.

Dominance is not a problem under EU law, you can be big However, it is illegal to abuse a powerful market position by restricting competition.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the latest case arose because of “concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation”. The complaint refers to AdSense, a service Google offers to companies to help them place adverts. The company could face fines of up to 10% of the group’s annual global sales or $7.4 billion based on their 2015 results. Google said: “We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition.”

We’ll examine the Commission’s renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks.