Third EU antitrust charge to hit Google in July – reports

29 Jun 2016

Third time’s not a charm for Google within the EU, with sources within the governmental body having revealed that the search giant is to face yet another antitrust charge regarding its use of its AdWords product.

The expected announcement that EU antitrust charges are going to be issued against Google is sure to be a major blow to the company, given that just last month it was revealed that it was facing the prospect of a €3bn fine over its second antitrust charge.

In that case, Google was accused of unlawfully promoting its own price-comparison service while simultaneously relegating smaller rivals and denying them traffic.

AdWords under fire

Not only that, but in April the EU had drawn up formal charges against Google over its Android operating system, claiming it unfairly promoted its own apps while undermining third-party app developers.

Now, according to Reuters, Google is facing its third antitrust charge in as many months, this time regarding how it makes money from advertising and specifically its AdWords platform.

Google rivals have now reportedly been asked by the European Commission to provide information related to advertising with the search giant, suggesting another charge could be imminent.

May case delayed

AdWords places adverts to the side of search results and is a major revenue stream for both Google and its parent company Alphabet.

While Google and the EU have both refused to comment on the matter, three sources familiar with the matter have confirmed this development to Reuters.

As for the May antitrust case, it appears as if the ruling over its price comparison service, which could see it fined up to 10pc of its revenues, has been delayed by the EU in order to allow it to build a stronger case against the company.

Google AdWords image via Mon’s Images/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic