- The European Union has launched a fresh antitrust investigation into Google.
- Reuters reported Friday that the EU had been sending questionnaires to companies trying to find out how Google leverages its data.
- The European Commission has now confirmed it has launched “preliminary investigation.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google is facing yet another antitrust investigation from the European Union after being slapped with three multibillion dollar fines in as many years.
Reuters reported Friday that it had seen a document showing the EU was investigating how Google uses data. The bloc’s competition watchdog sent questionnaires to companies asking exactly how Google bargains with its data, and whether it ever withholds it.
The EU confirmed it had launched an investigation on Saturday. “The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s practices relating to Google’s collection and use of data. The preliminary investigation is ongoing,” a spokesperson told Business Insider.
The European Commission appears to be scrutinizing a broad swathe of Google’s data. The document seen by Reuters showed it was looking into data relating to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services, web browsers and more.
A Google spokesman didn’t answer when asked by Business Insider whether Google had already been aware of the investigation prior to the Reuters report.
“We use data to make our services more useful and to show relevant advertising, and we give people the controls to manage, delete or transfer their data. We will continue to engage with the Commission and others on this important discussion for our industry,” a spokesman said.
The European Commission has hit Google hard in recent years with three massive antitrust fines.
- In 2019 it fined Google $US1.7 billion for its search advertising platform.
- In 2018 it fined Google a record $US5 billion for abusing the dominance of its Android operating system.
- In 2017 it fined Google $US2.7 billion for practices related to its online shopping service.
Google is appealing all three fines, which total $US9.4 billion. The tech giant is also facing intense antitrust scrutiny on the home front, with 50 state attorneys general currently conducting an investigation into various facets of Google’s business.
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