The European Commission imposes a € 1.49 billion fine on Google for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices on its AdSense advertising platform.
The legal battle between Google and the European Commission continues and the fines inflicted on the first by the second still impress with the gargantuan amounts they reach. The new sanction that has just fallen does not escape the rule.
As expected, the European Commission requires that Google pay a sum of 1.49 billion euros. Once again, anticompetitive practices are targeted and this time they concern an abuse of dominant position in online advertising.
The well-known Commissioner for Competition Policy Margrethe Vestager said: "Google has consolidated its dominant position in online contextual advertising and has guarded against competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on websites. third-party web. These practices are illegal under EU rules on anti-competitive practices. Because of this behavior, which has lasted for more than 10 years, other companies have been denied the opportunity to compete on the basis of their merits and to innovate and consumers have been deprived of the benefits of competition " .
Specifically, it is the advertising agency of Google, AdSense for Search, which is in the sights. The European Commission lists several offenses. Google has thus prevented some publishers from displaying contextual advertising of its competitors and also imposed exclusivity clauses forcing its partners to reserve the most profitable spaces – thus systematically depriving competitors of the most visited areas of the pages.
Image: European Commission
And that's not all: the European Commission says that since 2009, "Google has also included clauses requiring publishers to have the written consent of Google before they can change the way in which competing advertisements are displayed. This meant that Google could control the degree of attractiveness, and therefore the visit rate, of competing contextual advertising.
Following this conviction, Google was quick to react. "We have always thought that competitive markets are in everyone's interest. We have already made many changes to our products to address the concerns of the Commission. In the coming months, we will be making new updates to give our competitors more visibility in Europe, "said Kent Walker, head of international affairs.
Recall that Google had been sentenced to 2.42 billion euros fine for having unlawfully put forward its Google Shopping price comparison. Then it is a sum of 4.34 billion euros that has been claimed for anti-competitive practices conducted on Android.