The law against restraints of competition from 2021 enables the Federal Cartel Office to take stricter action against large Internet groups. Now the authority is taking a close look at Google – and this is the second time.
According to an investigation by the Federal Cartel Office, Google also has a strong market position in online advertising outside of its core business with its search engine. According to a “discussion report” by the authority that was published in Bonn, this must be examined under antitrust law.
In May 2021, the Bundeskartellamt had already launched an investigation into Google and its parent company Alphabet on their core business. Behind advertising outside of search engines is a “highly complex system of automated trading in online advertising space that is quite non-transparent for many,” said Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office.
With the ongoing investigation, his authority wants to “bring more light into this black box”. “Google also has a strong market position in this technical sub-area of online advertising at almost all stages of the value chain. Not least because of this, numerous competition issues arise.”
Significant impact on the overall system
The online weaving technology enables a highly complex and highly automated trade in advertising space, the automated display of ads and the measurement of advertising statistics. The investigation has shown that with this so-called programmatic advertising, individual market participants – and here in particular Google – have a considerable influence on the overall system. “Google is represented at almost all stages of the value chain and in practically all relevant services and in most cases has a very strong market position.”
In this context, the head of the authorities, Mundt, referred to instruments for extended abuse control, which the German legislature introduced at the beginning of 2021. The new rules of paragraph 19a GWB allowed the Federal Cartel Office to intervene earlier and more effectively against the behavior of large digital corporations. The Bundeskartellamt enables market participants and interested parties to comment on the discussion report that has now been published by October 28, 2022.
That’s what Google says
A Google spokesman said advertising tools from Google and many other competitors are helping website and app providers fund their content. “They help companies of all sizes reach their customers effectively.”
The Bundeskartellamt’s investigation covers only a fraction of the broad and extremely competitive ad tech market, in which Google competes with a large number of established players and in which advertisers can acquire ad space on multiple marketplaces and hundreds of platforms. “We will examine the report closely and continue to work with the Federal Cartel Office and answer their questions,” he said.
Source: com! professional by www.com-magazin.de.
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