New EU Antitrust Campaign Targets Google AdWords

Google logo July 2015 AH 2

Not long after Russia ruled against Google in a major antitrust case, the Mountain View-based tech giant may be facing more similar issues elsewhere in Europe. Namely, the European Union has announced certain actions which could realistically result in a third formal antitrust complaint against Google in the span of just two years. The issue now is Google AdWords, Google’s enormous advertising service. Bloomberg’s inside sources report that officials in charge of the latest EU antitrust investigation have recently made several requests for declassification of privately collected evidence against Google. More specifically, they’ve inquired among Google’s opponents in regards to getting their hands on evidence they’ve have collected against the company over the years. The exact identities of contacted individuals possessing the evidence in question haven’t been revealed, most likely because they’ve been doing so on behalf of private plaintiffs.

The investigation into Google AdWords’ potential EU antitrust law breaches may significantly impact Alphabet’s revenue stream. That’s because AdWords is the main driver of the California-based tech giant’s growing sales. In 2015, Google’s revenue amounted to almost $75 billion, and most of that money was made directly through advertising. Furthermore, reports claim that this is an ongoing situation as the latest request for evidence against Google was filed just a few days ago. This is significant because legal experts claim that this type of action usually signals an immediate EU statement of objections. The said statement is a complaint detailing how a certain company could have allegedly violated strict EU antitrust law.

The evidence in question is related to numerous contracts Google has made with various major websites over the past few years which have consequently forced several competing advertising services to shut down. In addition to that, the EU officials are also investigating certain contracts Google has made with computer hardware and software vendors which have prevented them from using any search engines and tools not made by the US tech company.

Both Google and the European Union have declined to comment on this report after it surfaced earlier today. These latest developments are in line with a recent statement made by Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s chief competition commissioner. In April, Vestager said that the European Union is planning to advance its investigations against Google in a relatively short time frame. Since Vestager started heading the EU chief competition division, the European Union has opened two additional investigations against Google. In both of these cases, a formal statement of objections came soon after the commission started requesting declassification of third-party-owned antitrust evidence against the Californian tech giant.