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Google's Chrome Browser Cookie Blocking Triggers Antitrust Probe: Reuters

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Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google’s year-old plan of blocking web tracking tool “cookies” in the Chrome browser has triggered antitrust concerns from the U.S. Justice Department, Reuters reports.

  • Google’s further elaboration over the last two months attracted complaints from online ad rivals. Google’s data collection and usage restriction was alleged to affect ad tech companies employing cookies for public browsing history collection for directing relevant ads.
  • Investigators questioned market leader Chrome’s role in preventing rival ad companies from tracking users through cookies while unfairly gathering data for itself via the loopholes.
  • The government had been investigating Google’s search and advertising business since mid-2019 and filed a lawsuit last October for alleged anticompetitive tactics to maintain its search engine dominance. It continued to probe Google’s ad practices, including questioning its rivals over unfair practices beyond the December state suits filed against the company.
  • Google justified its ad business, citing competition-driven affordability, fee reduction, expanded options for publishers and advertisers, and user privacy protection.
  • Reuters notes that Texas amended its complaint to allege the forthcoming changes to Chrome “are anticompetitive because they raise barriers to entry and exclude competition.”
  • It’s worth noting that France’s competition watchdog temporarily supported Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) new tracking limits in the name of privacy protection.
  • Price action: GOOG shares traded lower by 1.06% at $2,069.01 on the last check Thursday.
 

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Posted-In: Data Privacy Google Chrome ReutersNews Tech Media

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