Google fined $1.7 billion for search ad blocks in third EU sanction

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Alphabet unit Google was fined 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) on Wednesday, its third large EU antitrust penalty in two years marking the company’s decade-long regulatory battle in Europe.

FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The European Union antitrust chief, however, gave a cautious welcome to Google’s measures to boost competition and give Android users a choice of browsers and search apps, suggesting the company’s regulatory woes may be coming to an end.

The European Commission, which said the fine amounted to 1.29 percent of Google’s turnover in 2018, said that the case focused on the company’s illegal practises in search advertising brokering from 2006 to 2016.

“Today’s decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a news conference.

She said its actions meant advertisers and website owners had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would then be passed on to consumers.

The case concerned websites, such as of newspaper or travel sites, with a search function that produces search results and search adverts. Google’s AdSense for Search provided such search adverts.

The misconduct included stopping publishers from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, forcing them to reserve the most profitable space on these pages for Google’s adverts and a requirement to seek written approval from Google before making changes to how rival adverts were displayed.

THRIVING MARKETS

The AdSense advertising case was triggered by a complaint from Microsoft in 2010. Both companies subsequently dropped complaints against each other in 2016.

Google said it was taking action to comply with EU orders in two previous cases, one of which concerned its Android mobile operating system that resulted in a record 4.34 billion euro fine last year while the shopping comparison case led to a 2.42 billion euro fine.

“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,” Kent Walker, senior vice-president of global affairs, said in a statement.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe,” he added.

Vestager welcomed the move, saying: “We see positive developments both in the shopping and Android case.”.

Google’s foe, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, said regulators should stay vigilant.

“Competitors have withered or died. It’s time for the EU and governments around the world to step in and address the underlying wrong,” its chairman Michael Weber said in a statement.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop/Alexander Smith and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Source link

more recommended stories

  • Hackers hit global telcos in espionage campaign: cyber research firm

    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Hackers have.

  • Apple says it collects fee on less than 1% of Spotify users

    (Reuters) – Music streaming service Spotify.

  • HSBC-backed startup aims to become LinkedIn of global trade

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – In a.

  • U.S. explores requiring domestic 5G equipment to be made outside China: WSJ

    Sprint technicians work on the installation.

  • India’s space startups ignite investor interest

    MUMBAI (Reuters) – From companies building.

  • Velodyne Lidar hires bankers for an IPO: Business Insider

    A Velodyne LiDAR sensor is seen.

  • India asks scooter, bike makers to draw up plan for EVs: sources

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s federal.

  • Amazon gets U.S. patent to use delivery drones for surveillance service

    FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon.

  • Senate Democrats ask for details on antitrust probes into Big Tech

    FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon,.

  • Dollars in the detail: banks pan for gold in ‘data lakes’

    LONDON (Reuters) – From sending special.

  • Slack stock surges at debut, values company at more than $23 billion

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Shares of.

  • Chainalysis, LINE unit BITBOX in anti-money laundering partnership

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chainalysis, a.

  • Delta Air not expecting flight cancellations as result of tech issue

    FILE PHOTO – Passengers check in.

  • Apple explores moving 15-30% of production capacity from China: Nikkei

    (Reuters) – Apple Inc has asked.

  • French photo startup Meero joins unicorn club after $230 mln fundraising

    PARIS (Reuters) – French startup Meero,.

  • Facebook reveals Libra cryptocurrency, sparking new privacy concerns

    SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook.

  • Facebook reveals Libra cryptocurrency, with lofty goals

    SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook.

  • Huawei says U.S. ban hurting more than expected, to wipe $30 billion off revenue

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Huawei.

  • France warns new European drone must be competitive on price

    French President Emmanuel Macron, listens to.

  • Google appoints Stanley Chen to head Greater China sales, operations

    FILE PHOTO: The brand logo of.

  • Intel launches project to help Israeli tech start-ups

    Intel CEO Robert Swan speaks during.

  • Exclusive: Mexico blamed Walmart’s size, access to rivals’ data in blocking app deal

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican officials.

  • Bumble owner to spend $100 million on dating apps

    (Reuters) – The owner of dating.

  • Broadcom’s $2 billion warning rattles global chip sector

    LONDON/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Broadcom Inc sent.

  • Explainer: Why is Huawei seeking $1 billion patent deal with Verizon?

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Huawei is demanding.

  • Factbox: Global tech companies shun Huawei after U.S. ban

    (Reuters) – Global technology companies are.

  • Broadcom warning hits European chipmakers

    FILE PHOTO: Broadcom Limited company logo.

  • Unhappy at Twitter, thousands of Saudis crash pro-Trump social network

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A surge.

  • Messaging service Telegram CEO points to China as likely origin of cyber attack

    (Reuters) – The chief executive of.

  • Walmart overhauls Jet.com as online business fails to deliver results

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Walmart Inc on.

  • Facebook expands Watch service as user numbers grow

    FILE PHOTO: Stickers bearing the Facebook.

  • LG Electronics, regulators oppose Qualcomm’s effort to put antitrust ruling on hold

    (Reuters) – Smartphone maker LG Electronics.