Google’s advertising practices are once again under the microscope in Europe.
News of the European Union’s renewed interest in the tech giant’s advertising behaviors comes just three days after it was announced Google CEO Sundar Pichai would meet with the European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager this Thursday to discuss ways to correct the company’s alleged violation of anti-trust practices.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has been talking with companies that engage in online advertising about Google’s behavior, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.
The goal, according to Bloomberg’s sources, is to compile enough information to put together a statement of objections that lays out where Google is believed to violate anti-trust rules.
One example of inappropriate behavior, the sources said, is Google shelling out $1 billion to Apple to allegedly ensure its search bar is the only one on the iPhone.
The probe resurrects an EU investigation begun six years ago into contracts the tech firm had with various websites that then excluded all advertising services and deals from computer and software vendors not affiliated with Google.
Google’s woes in the EU are many.
Vestager filed formal charges against Google last April, saying the tech titan manipulates search results to favor its comparison-shopping service. The Commission accused Google of suppressing competition and hurting consumers due to the “unfair advantage” it gives its own comparison shopping service.
She also launched a formal anti-trust probe back last April to determine if Google is using its Android operating system to dominate the mobile market. The investigation into Google’s Android OS rules will be to determine if the firm is hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems, applications and services, disadvantaging consumers and developers by cutting off access to “innovative services and products.”
The Commission has said it also plans to investigate similar accusations about Google’s map and travel features.
It is thought Piachi’s meeting with Vestager will touch on all of these areas of concern.