In view of the evidence presented, it appears reasonable to conclude that,
although switching costs are not insignificant, they do not represent an important obstacle to publishers/customers actually switching ad serving providers. The existence of actual switches does provide evidence of this conclusion.
Evolution of prices in the provision of ad serving tools
The fact that the ad serving market is currently competitive is also evidenced by a significant price decline of DoubleClick’s products for advertisers and publishers, as described in detail in paragraphs 168-175. DoubleClick has been offering substantial discounts and short term contracts when negotiating renewals, rather than "locking" clients on long term contracts and fixed prices. The price development for selected long-term DFP customers (that remained in the same volume tier throughout the period) shows that the CPMs charged by DoubleClick have remained relatively stable over the duration of a contract, only to drop significantly whenever a contract came up for renegotiation. As noted in paragraph 175, the market investigation has also confirmed that customers have been renegotiating terms and lowering prices of the supply contracts with DoubleClick
Google's bundled solution and an unbundled solution including DoubleClick are not close competitors
Firstly, Google is a direct provider of space for search ads and an intermediary with its ad network (AdSense) for search and contextual ads. These features make it a distant competitor of unbundled solutions where DoubleClick would be providing ad serving tools. DoubleClick is mainly a provider of serving tools for display ads. Indeed Google's presence in intermediation for display ads is minimal (far less than 1% of the display advertising segment). In other words, the parties' products are strong for different types of ad formats.
Google allows display ads to be placed through its AdSense network (but not on Google.com). However, advertisers generally choose other networks than AdSense to place display ads because the price that they would have to bid on AdSense for a display ad, as compared to text ads, would not be justified in view of the fact that Google does not provide the metrics required by advertisers purchasing display advertising. Indeed, when Google text ads appear on a web page, Google records whether the user has clicked on an ad, which is necessary because Google charges on a CPC basis. Google also records the destination to which the ad took the user, that is to say typically the advertiser’s website, but there is no additional tracking function beyond that initial link that reports or tracks the user’s subsequent web behaviour, including, whether the user ultimately buys a product, requests information or takes some other desired action. Google cannot provide those metrics in part because, unlike DoubleClick, it does not deliver cookies to users upon the serving of the impression that allow monitoring which users have viewed which ads.
This is something that most display advertisers require, and for which more
sophisticated ad serving, management and reporting technologies such as DoubleClick’s are used. Accordingly, Google has had very little demand for display ads on its system, its provision of display ad space accounts for a very small percentage of all display ads on the internet. The insignificant turnover