Under pressure from regulators, Google, Amazon and Facebook are offering concessions

Under pressure from regulators, Google, Amazon and Facebook are offering concessions

Negotiate instead of fighting toe-to-toe. Google is trying to do this as part of the investigation initiated by the European Commission into its online advertising practices, which it has classified as anti-competitive. The American giant has proposed that Brussels allow other intermediaries to offer advertisers to place ads on its YouTube video platform, Reuters reported on Monday (June 13). The requirement to go through Google tools to post on YouTube is precisely one of Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s criticisms.

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This case illustrates a trend: In recent months, the Gafam (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) have increasingly made use of “commitments”. These company proposals are aimed at finding a compromise with the competition authorities. Their goal: to shorten the investigation and achieve a reduced sentence.

In this sense, according to the agency Reuters and the website Politico, Amazon is seeking an “agreement” to complete the investigations into the use of data launched by Brussels in 2019. Accused of using information from its marketplace to promote its own products and customers, the world’s leading online seller offered to share data with all sellers. Amazon would also be willing to display a second offer from a competing retailer if one of its own products is selected in the Buy Box, claiming to be the most advantageous offer.

Also read: Amazon, accused of violating European competition rules, targeted by two Brussels investigations

These concessions have yet to be accepted by the authorities. The secret negotiations will last several months. Contacted, neither Amazon nor the European Commission commented.

At Google, the willingness to cooperate is most evident. As an example, the world market leader for online research cites Privacy Sandbox, the advertising targeting tool that is intended to replace cookies by 2023: The company had proposed an investigation by the British competition authority on this topic – and validated it in February after modification – fair treatment measures other player.

A pragmatic tactic

The group had already “concluded a deal” in an investigation into online advertising in June 2021 “without contesting the facts”, welcomed the French competition authority – which nevertheless imposed a fine of 220 million euros on the concessions. In the objection proceedings, the search engine also offered the authority “commitments” to pay publishers for ancillary copyrights and for excerpts from articles.

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