The European Commission opened an antitrust investigation into Google's ad business, it announced Tuesday. The regulator is looking into whether Google favors its own ad tech services "to the detriment of competing providers of advertising technology services, advertisers and online publishers." It's also examining whether Google distorts competition by restricting third-party access to user data.
In a statement, Europe's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said, "We are concerned that Google has made it harder for rival online advertising services to compete in the so-called ad tech stack." The commission said it's particularly interested in the obligation to use Google's ad tech tools to buy ads on YouTube, and whether Google's ad tools favor its own AdX exchange.
It will also investigate Google's planned removal of third-party cookies in Chrome, and its plans to stop tracking on Android phones.
The European Commission previously fined Google €1.49 billion for "illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts."