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1.49bn Euros Slapped On Google By EU Over Antitrust In Advertising

1.49bn Euros Slapped On Google By EU Over Antitrust In Advertising
Google has been slapped a fine of 1.49 billion euro ($1.68 billion) over charges that the company had abused its dominance in the online advertisement market by regulators in the European Union.
The latest indictment an fine against Google is the third occasion that the United States based tech giant has been penalised by the EU over antitrust issues. Earlier,  two separate investigations into two other parts of the Silicon Valley giant's business had resulted in the EU regulators imposing billions of dollars in penalties on the company.
The latest penalty was in relation to allegations and a probe against Google's AdSense advertising business and the announcement of the fine was made by the EU's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, at a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
"Today's decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform," Vestager said.
She said that there was enough evidence with the commission which conclusively proved that Google, along with its parent company, Alphabet, had blatantly violated the antitrust rules of the EU through imposition of restrictive clauses in contracts with those websites that used AdSense. This prevented all of the rivals of Google to place any add on such websites.
Google "prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits," Vestager said. "Advertisers and website owners, they had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers," she added.
AdSense is amongst the older product offerings from Google and this product allows web publishers such as bloggers to put up advertisements on their websites. The content of the advertisements however are fixed on the basis of the results that are obtained from search functions on their sites. In 2009, an EU antitrust complaint was filed by Microsoft against the practices of the service. A formal investigation into the issue was launched by the EU Commission in 2016. The commission however said that some changes that allows the affected people greater freedom of displaying ads from rivals on their websites have already been made by Google.
Google was slapped a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) penalty by Vestager last year after an investigation found that the company had violated antitrust regulations of the EU in the use of its Android operating system. And in a case related to the online shopping search results of Google, the EU also imposed a fine of 2.42 billion euro on the tech giant in 2017.
According to the EU commission, the latest fine imposed by it is about 1.29 per cent of the total turnover of Google in 2018 and alleged that it had been over a decade that the company had been indulging in these anti-competitive practices.
Third party websites such as those of newspaper or travel sites were the target of this anti-competitive policy of Google, the commission said.  

Christopher J. Mitchell

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