Competition Bureau completes extensive investigation of Google
April 19, 2016
Bureau continues to monitor competition issues in the digital economy
The Competition Bureau announced today that it is closing its investigation into a number of allegations of anti-competitive conduct by Google. These allegations related to Google's online search, search advertising and display advertising services in Canada.
Details of the investigation are available on the Bureau's website in a comprehensive position statement in line with the Bureau's core values of openness and transparency.
The Bureau conducted an extensive review of allegations that Google engaged in conduct with the intention to exclude or disadvantage its competitors, contrary to the abuse of dominance provisions of the Competition Act.
The Bureau found evidence to support one of the allegations against Google: that the company used anti-competitive clauses in certain types of contracts that negatively affected advertisers, with the intent to exclude its competitors. Google made changes to these terms and conditions in 2013, in response to similar concerns raised by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In response to the Bureau, Google has agreed not to reintroduce the clauses in Canada, and has agreed not to introduce any other clauses that may have the same effect in its English-language and French-language contracts. As a result of these changes, advertisers have more flexibility to use competing advertising platforms, allowing for greater search advertising competition.
The Bureau did not find sufficient evidence of a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in the market to support the other allegations.
- The Bureau's inquiry focused on facts and evidence related to allegations of anti-competitive conduct affecting the Canadian marketplace.
- As part of its investigation, the Bureau consulted with industry and economic experts and conducted over 130 interviews with a broad range of market participants, including competitors, publishers and advertisers.
- The Bureau analyzed large volumes of information collected from stakeholders and information supplied by Google, which was obtained under an order of the Federal Court.
- The Bureau also consulted with international counterparts including the FTC and the European Commission throughout the investigation.
"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."
Commissioner of Competition