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REPORT: DOJ Turns Up The Heat On Google, Will Investigate Tech Giant’s Ad Tools

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The Department of Justice is reaching out to some of Google’s largest rivals to determine how the tech giant’s advertising business model is impacting the industry, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

DOJ officials are asking Google’s rivals about how the company’s third-party advertising model affects advertisers, the report noted, citing sources familiar with the probe. The agency is honing in on the company’s acquisition of DoubleClick, which is believed to be the source of Google’s power.

It is reportedly focusing in particular on two main elements: Google’s integration of the tools it provides websites to put ad space up for sale with its ad exchange; and the company’s move to require advertisers to use its own equipment when buying digital real estate on Google-owned YouTube.

The tech giant’s rivals say investigators are asking the right questions. (RELATED:  EXCLUSIVE: Google Employees Used Company Resources To Organize Anti-Trump Resistance Events)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is sworn in prior to testifying at a House Judiciary Committee hearing “examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young

“They are zooming in on the right topics, and that’s a good thing,” Michael Nevins, an executive at Smart AdServer, one of Google’s main ad technology rivals, told TheWSJ.

All of the scrutiny is causing Google executives to mull the possibility of divesting themselves of DoubleClick, the report noted, citing people familiar with the situation. The ad tool is becoming less important in an age of smart phones and handheld devices, thus opening up the possibility of dropping DoubleClick.

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