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European Publishers Council files EU Complaint against Google for anti-competitive ad tech practices

The European Publishers Council has this morning filed an antitrust complaint against Google with the EU Commission in a bid to break the ad tech stranglehold Google currently has over press publishers, as well as other businesses in the ad tech ecosystem. Specifically, the EPC calls on the European Commission to hold Google accountable for its anticompetitive conduct and impose remedies to restore conditions of effective competition in the ad tech value chain.

EPC Chairman Christian Van Thillo says, “It is high time for the European Commission to impose measures on Google that actually change, not just challenge, its behaviour – behaviour that has caused and continues to cause considerable harm, not just to Europe’s press publishers, but to all advertisers and eventually consumers in the form of higher prices (including ad tech fees), less choice, less transparency and less innovation.”

We call on the Commission to take concrete steps right now that will actually break the stranglehold that Google has over us all.

EPC Chairman, Christian Van Thillo

As part of the complaint, the EPC is particularly withering about what it says are Google’s conflicts of interests as well as what it describes as ‘unlawful tactics’. The EPC alleges that since Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick in 2008, the tech giant has achieved ‘end-to-end control of the ad tech value chain, boasting market shares as high as 90-100% in (certain) segments’.

The EPC further alleges that because Google typically represents the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, as well as operating the auction house in the middle, and selling its own inventory, it is riddled with self-serving interests to the detriment of European publishers.

The developments come a year on from when L’Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale (APIG), which represents the interests of around 300 press titles in France, reached a financial deal with Google over reuse of their content. Google has not disclosed how much money APIG’s members receive as a result of the agreement.

The full EPC complaint can be read here.