Canada’s Competition Bureau Ends Investigation on Google

Google MountainView Campus

Canada’s Competition Bureau closed its investigation on Google over allegations that it committed anti-competitive practices related to its online search, search advertising and display advertising services in the country.

Google is now operating as a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), a holding company created last year.

The Canadian regulator performed an extensive investigation regarding the allegations that Google engaged in practices designed to exclude or disadvantage its competitors—a violation on the provisions of the Competition Act regarding abuse of dominance.

The Competition Bureau consulted with industry and economic experts as well as international counterparts such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission. The Bureau conducted over 130 interviews with a broad range of market participants including competitors, publishers and advertisers.

The Canadian regulator reviewed large volumes of information collected from stakeholders and information from Google, which was obtained through an order issued by the Federal Court.

Google resolved one concern

The Competition Bureau found evidence to support one of the allegations— that Google used anti-competitive clauses in certain types of contracts that negatively impacted advertisers, with an intention to exclude rivals.

Google resolve the issue by amending the terms and conditions in those contracts in 2013, which was also a response to a similar concern raised by FTC.

The company agreed not to reintroduce the anti-competitive clauses in its contracts in Canada. The change allowed greater search advertising competition as advertisers obtained more flexibility to use competing platforms.

No sufficient evidence to support other allegations

The Canadian regulator also concluded that no sufficient evidence to support the other allegations that the search engine giant lessened or prevented competition in the market substantially.

In a statement, Competition Bureau Commissioner John Pecman, said, “Data‑driven companies play an important and growing role in Canada’s economy. We will continue to monitor firms in the digital economy to ensure they do not engage in anti-competitive conduct.”

“Should new evidence come to light of anti-competitive conduct that may affect the Canadian marketplace, by Google or any other market participant, I won’t hesitate to take appropriate action,” he added.

On the other hand, Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel at Google, commented, “We’re pleased that the Canadian Competition Bureau has decided to end its inquiry.”