EU officials quizzed firms involved in advertising market
Escalation comes as Google CEO Pichai set to meet with EU
The European Union is reviving a probe into Google’s advertising practices with an inquiry that adds to active EU antitrust investigations into the company’s mobile operating system and shopping search services.
The EU has been quizzing companies involved in online advertising in recent weeks about Google’s behavior, according to three people with knowledge of the investigation who asked not to be named because the process is confidential. Officials are seeking data that may be used to build a so-called statement of objections listing areas where they suspect Google breaches antitrust rules, they said.
Google’s $1 billion payment to Apple Inc. to keep its search bar on the iPhone is one of the kind of exclusivity agreements regulators are looking at, one of the people said. The EU move rekindles part of a probe they first announced in 2010 into contracts with websites that shut out non-Google advertising services and deals with computer and software vendors that prevent them using other search tools.