European Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion ($1.7 billion) for breaching EU antitrust rules. This is the third time EU is imposing fine for Google after it was hit with €2.42 billion fine in 2017 and €4.34 billion fine last year.
This time EU says that 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. It added that Google’s practices amount to an abuse of Google’s dominant position in the online search advertising intermediation market by preventing competition on the merits.
“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,” it added.
Google in response said that it has made and in the next few months will make a number of changes to address EU antitrust regulators’ concerns.
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.
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