SAN FRANCISCO — European anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager has joined Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on top of the list of people that Google investors should fear most.
Vestager’s decision to charge Google with using its search monopoly to quash smaller rivals in the broader market for online services is going to be more than just a huge time suck for the American Internet giant.
At the end of what promises to be a lengthy process, the EU can either fine the company or — worse yet for Google — exclude it from other European Internet markets besides search.
Those include helping consumers find hotels, restaurants, plane tickets, home services or friends on the fly.
Ads alongside these mobile, real-time recommendations are growing sharply as new wireless technologies pair consumer data with location information.
In the U.S., for example, mobile advertising grew a whopping 76% in the first half of last year, to $5.3 billion, according to an October report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
That was 23% of the total and, given the spending trends of the last two years, mobile will likely represent between a quarter and a third of all digital ad spending this year.
Capturing a large share of the European market for mobile ads would boost growth in coming years at Google.
Its sales are seen rising 17% this year, to $66 billion, and 18% in 2016.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company controls roughly 90% of the market for search advertising in Europe (versus a 64% share of the U.S. market.).. see more