GOOGLE CAN’T CATCH A BREAK in Europe; Bloomberg reports that the firm faces its third antitrust mega-fine “within weeks”.
This fine will relate to the firm’s AdSense service, which the European Commission (EC) started probing back in 2016, just as Google was slapped with a £2.1bn penalty for its ‘anticompetitive’ Shopping service.
At the time, the EC threw a Statement of Objections in Google’s direction, outlining its preliminary view that the AdSense service stifles innovation in the market and could break European antitrust rules.
The EU watchdog said it believes that, for the past 10 years, Google has placed restrictions on the ability of certain third-party websites to display search advertisements from Google’s competitors; for example.
“Whenever a user enters a search query, in addition to the search results, search ads are also displayed. If the user clicks on the search ad, Google and the third party receive a commission,” the EC explained at the time.
The EC also took a dislike to Google’s agreements with a limited number of large third parties, so-called Direct Partners, which make up a large proportion of its revenue from search advertising; it claims these deals breach EU antitrust rules on three separate counts.
Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who Bloomberg claims will levy a fine at Google “in the coming weeks”, said: “Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate.
“If our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition in European markets.”
Back in July, the EC fined Google £3.8bm fine for abusing its dominance through its Android operating system, at the time also demanding that the company changes the way it puts search and web-browser apps onto mobile devices. µ
Source : Inquirer