Google (GOOG) Could Soon Face New Antitrust Probe Over Display Ads, Report

Google (GOOG) could face a new antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission [FTC] into its web-display ad business, a source told Reuters on Thursday.

The source said that the new inquiry, which comes on the heels of the FTC’s decision to close a review of Google’s search business in January without taking action, focuses into whether the tech giant is using its dominance in the $18 billion U.S. display ads market to illegally curb competition.

As Reuters notes, the fresh inquiry focuses “on tools acquired when Google bought display ad company DoubleClick in 2007; other firms which specialize in helping Web publishers sell ads to put on their websites are complaining to the FTC…The firms have accused Google of leveraging some of its most popular DoubleClick products, such as the ad managing system which has an estimated 80 percent of the market, to push websites to use other products…”

According to a second Reuters source familiar with the situation, Google, which also still faces a similar investigation in Europe, has not been notified by the Federal Trade Commission of any antitrust investigation so far.

Google’s stock lost more than six points after the news of the probe was released and closed at $882.79 in New York trading. In pre-market however, the ticker is up $2.11, or 0.24%, hovering near the $885 level.

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