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CMA secures more commitments from Google (GOOG) over Chrome

By David Burrows

08:21, 26 November 2021

Google Chrome browser. Photo: Alamy
The UK's CMA has intervened to ensure Google's new privacy initiatives don't lead to unfair competion in the digital advertising market – Photo: Alamy

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has obtained more substantial commitments from Google on its proposals to remove third party cookies from its Chrome browser.

The CMA has expressed concern that Google could impede competition in digital advertising markets. This, it warns, may cause advertising spending to become even more concentrated on Google.

The CMA has also aired reservations that Google’s growing presence might also undermine the ability of online publishers, such as newspapers, to generate revenue and produce valuable content in the future, ultimately reducing consumer choice.

The CMA’s intervention, and the improved commitments, are designed to ensure that Google’s proposals can improve privacy without adversely affecting competition, which would be to the detriment of users.

Privacy Sandbox proposals

This summer, the CMA consulted on initial commitments offered by Google, which provided the CMA with a key oversight role in the design and development of its Privacy Sandbox proposals.

Google announced that if the CMA accepted those commitments, Google would apply them globally.

The CMA heard from over 40 third parties who agreed with the CMA’s competition concerns but suggested that the commitments should be strengthened in several areas.


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These included increasing Google’s transparency and engagement with the industry, improvements on Google self-preferencing its advertising products and services, and strengthening Google’s compliance monitoring.

The CMA’s provisional view is that Google’s revised offer addresses its competition concerns. The pair are now in consultation on these modifications.

Commenting on the latest developments, CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said: “We have always been clear that Google’s efforts to protect users’ privacy cannot come at the cost of reduced competition.

“That’s why we have worked with the Information Commissioner’s Office, the CMA’s international counterparts and parties across this sector throughout this process to secure an outcome that works for everyone.”

He added: “If accepted, the commitments we have obtained from Google become legally binding, promoting competition in digital markets, helping to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguarding users’ privacy.”

Eyes will be on Google's stock price when the NASDAQ opens later today.

Read more: Digital economy in Souteast Asia to reach Read more: Digital economy in Souteast Asia to reach $1trn by 2030trn by 2030

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