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Google To Change Its Online Ad Practices In Settlement With France's Antitrust Watchdog


Google To Change Its Online Ad Practices In Settlement With France's Antitrust Watchdog
Alphabet's Google has reached an unprecedented settlement with France's antitrust watchdog as the company agreed to bring in changes to a part of its widely-used online advertising services globally.
The French antitrust authority had slapped a fine of €220 million ($267.48 million) to the California-based tech giant as the two parties arrived at a settlement on the charges against th company which was revealed Monday. The investigation by the antitrust authority of France had found that Google had abused its market power in the huge global market of online advertisements where many of the tools used in this sphere have become almost critical for large publishers.
This probe and decision of the French antitrust watchdog is being viewed as an effort towards rebalancing of the market power in the area of online advertisements in favour of publishers – which had the upper hand in the business of advertisement in the pre-internet era. However with the emergence and rise of companies like Google and Facebook, publishers have lost considerable ground in the global advertisement business.
Following the decision, it would now be possible for publishers, who felt they were being put at a disadvantage, to seek damages from Google, said the French Competition Authority (FCA). Unhappiness over the policies and practices in the advertisement business employed by the tech giants have been expressed by many publishers globally.
"The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it's the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies," said France's antitrust chief Isabelle de Silva.
The authorities decided to reduce the fine imposed on Google because it agreed to settle the issue, De Silva said, without providing any further specifics.
There were no comments on the issue form Google.
Google will not seek to appeal the authority's decision in court, said the French watchdog.
The tools that are offered to publishers by Google for selling and managing online ads were at the core of the investigation by the FCA.
According to analysts, one of the major deductions from the French antitrust settlement by Google is the clear indication that the tech giant would be willing to concede to antitrust pressure and institute operational changes to some of its most popular ad business tools which critically is reliant on the huge cache of data that has been gathered by the company over the years.
In its probe, the FCA concluded that AdX, the online ad marketplace owned by Google, was invariably always favoured by the company’s ad management platform for large publishers called Google Ad Manager. The AdX is the marketplace where space is sold by publishers to advertisers in real time. This was done by Google by powering AdX with strategic data such as the prices that would win bids.
According to the terms of the settlement with the FCA, Google has pledged to enhance the interoperability of Google Ad Manager services with third-party ad server and ad space sales platform.

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