European Union fines Google 1.49 billion euros for anti-trust breach

European Union fines Google 1.49 billion euros for anti-trust breach

The European Commission, which said the fine accounted for 1.29 per cent of Google's turnover in 2018, said in a statement on Wednesday that the anti-competitive practices had lasted a decade.

However, Google included "exclusivity clauses" in some AdSense contracts which prevented publishers from placing ads from Google rivals on their search pages.

European Union officials discovered Google's violations during a probe into the company's AdSense advertising business, Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, said Wednesday at a news conference in Brussels.

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. The content of the ads is based on results from search functions on their sites.

It's the third time that Google has been slapped with a fine from E.U. regulators, bringing the total overall figure to roughly $9 billion, with all three violations spearheaded by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. "Therefore, third-party websites represent an important entry point for these other suppliers of online search advertising intermediation services to grow their business and try to compete with Google".

Euronews has asked Google to respond to the announcement.

In a statement, the company said: "We've always agreed that healthy, thriving markets are in everyone's interest".

A year earlier, it was hit with a $2.75bn penalty for abusing its dominant position by favouring its "Google Shopping" price comparison service in search results.

In the world of online search advertising, Google held a market share above 70 percent between 2006 and 2016.

Essentially, for years Google didn't allow its AdSense customers to feature rival search engines on their sites.

"Although any legal finding is concerning to advertisers, in this particular instance, advertisers may not be overly concerned given the majority of the searches they care about happen on Google", he added. But Google's move certainly shows that it's willing to make concessions in the region, following the EU's increased scrutiny.

Past year it was fined a record £3.9 billion fine over restrictions placed on mobile phone manufacturers using Android to drive internet traffic to Google's own search engine.

One of the more worrying findings was that, from 2009, the Mountain View company required publishers to gain written approval from Google before making visual changes to rival ads.

While Google has seen little regulation in countries like the United States, the European Commission has launched a number of antitrust investigations against the Mountain View tech giant.

Google published a blog post yesterday saying it's complying with the EU's orders.

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