European Union regulators fined Google with a US$ 1.68 billion for abusing its dominant role in online advertising.
It was the third time that the commission slapped the Google with an antitrust penalty, and multibillion dollar fine. EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, announced the results of the long running probe against the Silicon Valley Giant’s AdSense advertising business in a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
Vestager said, “Today’s decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform.”
The commission concluded that Google and its parent company Alphabet breached EU antitrust rules by imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with websites that use AdSense, and preventing Google rivals from placing their ads on these sites.
“Advertisers and website owners, they had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers…Google prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits,” Vestager added.
Adsense is a Google product that lets web publishers place ads on their websites. Google’s rival Microsoft filed the complaint in 2009 and the probe commenced in 2016.
In 2017, Google was fined EUR€ 2.42 billion for a case that involved Google in an online shopping search results, and again in 2018, Google was fined US$ 5 billion after an investigation into its Android operating system.