The European Publishers Council (EPC) filed an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Commission (EC), asking the authority to remedy uncompetitive conditions in the advertising technology market.
Google’s display advertising business is already the target of an EC investigation into potential conflicts of interest involving the company’s control of the technology and data used to purchase and display most online adverts, while also representing buyers and sellers.
The EPC claims Google controls the display market through its technology to deliver adverts, resulting in “supra-competitive rates”.
The publishers trace Google’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour to an acquisition of advert-serving platform Double Click in 2008, claiming the search giant used this to give its own promotional materials preferential treatment.
They claim Google has come to “monopolise virtually every step of the advertising technology value chain”, with market shares exceeding 90 per cent in some segments.
The EPC also raised concerns about a Google plan to remove third-party cookies from its Chrome browser, stating this could diminish publisher revenue by as much as 70 per cent in the near term.
Google is contesting a €2.4 billion fine levied by the EC in 2017 relating to illegal promotion of its shopping service.