Google faces wider antitrust probe over online ads in Canada


Although Canada’s antitrust enforcement is not considered the world’s fiercest, the expanded investigation adds to Google’s mounting legal and regulatory woes as it faces investigations and court cases across its broad suite of services, including its app store and now artificial intelligence. — Reuters

Canada’s Competition Bureau secured a court order allowing it to deepen a long-running investigation into the advertising market power of Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

The watchdog’s investigation started in 2020, and initially focused on whether Google was using its share of the video advertising business to gain power in the market for advertiser buying tools.

That probe has been extended to look at Google’s power across the display advertising technology business, the Canadian watchdog said Thursday. The agency said it was investigating the possibilities Google is using "predatory” pricing in the ad-tech market, reducing choices and hindering innovation in the market for online display ads.

The court order compels the Mountain View, California-based company to produce evidence for the bureau’s investigation.

Although Canada’s antitrust enforcement is not considered the world’s fiercest, the expanded investigation adds to Google’s mounting legal and regulatory woes as it faces investigations and court cases across its broad suite of services, including its app store and now artificial intelligence.

Google owns four of the largest online advertising technology services used in Canada, according to the bureau, including AdX and Display & Video 360.

A Google spokesperson said by email that Canadian businesses choose their products because they work effectively, and that the company would continue to engage with the Competition Bureau.

"As we’ve said before, the advertising technology industry is highly competitive and constantly evolving, which has lowered costs and expanded choices for consumers,” the statement added. – Bloomberg

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