The European Union has slammed a €1.49 billion fine about $1.69 billion on Google over what it calls “abusive practices in online advertising.” Google is being accused of breaching the EU antitrust rules, hence the fine. This will make it the third time, the European Union is imposing a fine on the search engine giant.
According to the EU, Google has abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.
The EU in a statement said;
Market dominance is, as such, not illegal under EU antitrust rules. However, dominant companies have a special responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition, either in the market where they are dominant or in separate markets
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said:
Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition.
Google in a response through Kent Walker, senior vice-president of global affairs, said:
We’ve always agreed that healthy, thriving markets are in everyone’s interest. We’ve already made a wide range of changes to our products to address the Commission’s concerns.
Over the next few months, we’ll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe.
It could be recalled that in 2017, Google was hit with a €2.42 billion fine and just last year, the company received another €4.34 billion fine over its use of the Android operating system.