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Japan Probes Google for Alleged Ad Monopoly

 |  April 16, 2024

Japan’s antitrust watchdog has initiated an investigation into Google’s purported monopoly, an exploitation of its dominant position in the realm of online advertising. The U.S. tech behemoth stands accused of impeding the activities of LY Corporation, a competitor responsible for the management of Line, a mobile messaging service, and Yahoo Japan, a search engine operator.

Google holds a commanding share in Japan’s market for “keyword-targeted” online advertising, a method which involves the automatic display of advertisements based on user-entered keywords in search engines.

According to sources close to the matter, Google allegedly unilaterally requested Line and Yahoo Japan to suspend certain aspects of their advertising services for a specific duration. Since 2010, the group has been the beneficiary of technical support from Google to facilitate keyword-targeted ad services.

Read more: Japan Creates New Rules to Open Up Apple, Google Apps Stores to More Competition

The Japan Fair Trade Commission suspects that these actions by Google may constitute violations of the country’s antimonopoly laws.

In response to the allegations, Google has reportedly submitted a proposed plan outlining preventive measures. Should the commission approve this plan, it is likely that Google will be spared from punitive measures such as cease-and-desist orders.

This probe adds to the growing scrutiny that American tech giants are facing globally, with both U.S. and European authorities tightening regulations.

Source: NHK