Big Tech and the authorities in Europe and the UK continue their antitrust squabbles that have cost the companies billions of dollars in fines.
Alphabet’s company Google has once again been caught in the web that it has been in many times before. The tech giant will face damages claims for up to 25 billion euros ($25.4 billion) over its digital advertising practices in two suits to be filed in British and Dutch courts, Reuters reports.
The suits, which will be filed in the coming weeks, were being instituted on behalf of publishers. The lawsuits are being funded by litigation funder Harbour.
Tech companies and the authorities have been in loggerhead over the use of publishers’ contents in Europe and Australia. The bone of contention has been about tech platforms using publishers’ contents to serve ads without paying them.
But now, both the UK and EU authorities are taking on Google over alleged abuse of its dominance in the advertising industry. The US-based company has been on the radar of antitrust regulators recently following complaints from publishers over Google’s adtech.
Last year, the French competition watchdog imposed a 220-million-euro fine on Google while the European Commission and its UK peer are investigating whether Google’s adtech business gives it an unfair advantage over rivals and advertisers.
“It is time that Google owns up to its responsibilities and pays back the damages it has caused to this important industry. That is why today we are announcing these actions across two jurisdictions to obtain compensation for EU and UK publishers,” Damien Geradin at law firm Geradin Partners said in a statement on Tuesday.
Having been here before, Google tried to exonerate itself from the allegation. Reuters reports that the company criticized the imminent lawsuits, saying that it works constructively with publishers across Europe.
“This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. When we receive the complaint, we’ll fight it vigorously,” a spokesperson said.
The report added that the British claim at the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal will seek to recover compensation for all owners of websites carrying banner advertising, including traditional publishers while the Dutch claim is open to publishers affected by Google’s actions.
Britain has an opt-out regime.
If both the UK and Dutch courts follow France’s precedent, Google will be adding another heavy one to its antitrust fines collections.