The UK’s opposition and markets authority has launched the latest exploration into Google advertising business over fears the agency is illegally freezing out competitors. It’s the second open probe the CMA has following the declaration in March of a joint investigation with the EU over alleged collusion between Google and Facebook owner Meta. The latest exploration will dive deep into the ad tech stack and the collection of tools that make up the composite online ad market. The CMA notes that Google has strong positions at various levels of the ad tech stack and is examining three key elements where the US agency is the largest player. These include the market used by agencies to publicize their ad space the ad exchanges which automate the sale of this inventory and the ad servers which store advertisements and choose them for the exhibit. The CMA wants to know whether Google is using its supremacy in each of these separate businesses to steer customers to its own services and make it harder for rivals to complete. Potential shady practices include whether Google limited the interoperability of its ad replace with third-party publishers and services and or contractually tied these services together making it more difficult for rival ad servers to complete. Over the past few years, Google has been hit with various fines over similar antitrust practices in other parts of its business.
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