German Cartel Office opens two proceedings against Google

The German Cartel Office, Bundeskartellamt, has opened two proceedings against Google Germany, Google Ireland and Alphabet, based on new regulations applying to digital companies. The first proceeding is establishing that the company is of paramount significance across markets. The president of the office, Andreas Mundt, said a multitude of digital services such as the search engine, YouTube, Maps, the Android operating system and the Chrome browser make Google of paramount importance for market competition.

The Bundeskartellamt will focus in its second proceeding in particular on Google’s data processing terms, Mundt said, adding that the company has a “strategic advantage” because its business model relies on processing user data and having access to it.

The Bundeskartellamt will examine whether Google/Alphabet limits user choice for data processing in connection with the use of its services. >The authority will also examine how the company’s data processing policy applies to processing user data obtained from third-party websites and apps, for example through Google’s advertising services, it said. With the new antitrust rules, the cartel authority had already started investigations in the past months into Facebook and Amazon. The new rules enables the Cartel Office to act more effectively to stop anti-competitive practices by large digital companies.

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