Explainer: Advertising executives point to five ways Google stifles business

FILE PHOTO: A Google sign is seen during the WAIC (World Artificial Intelligence Conference) in Shanghai, China, September 17, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. authorities investigating Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google for anticompetitive behavior have recently begun probing the company’s $116 billion-a-year advertising business.

Attorneys general for 50 U.S. states and territories along with the U.S. Department of Justice appear to be acting on accusations from rivals, lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups that the biggest seller of online ads engages in unfair tactics. Google disputes its dominance.

“Ad tech is a very crowded field, and Google competes with hundreds of companies, including household names like Adobe, Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, News Corp and Verizon,” company spokesman Josh Zeitz said. “Publishers and advertisers mix and match technology partners to meet their different needs, creating both competition and innovation.”

Later, in response to this story, Google reiterated in a blog post here that its services foster competition.

“Our tools and platforms make it easy for advertisers and publishers of all sizes to choose whom they want to work with in this open, interconnected ad system,” Google Vice President Sissie Hsiao wrote.

Here are five common concerns about Google raised by 10 ad industry executives, most speaking on the condition of anonymity.

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