The tech company was fined for trying to force a monopoly for online advertising
The European Union (EU) antitrust committee, has levied a fine of €1.5 billion (approximately US$ 1.7 billion) on Google, culminating a case, which began in 2016. It was the third such fine imposed on Google by the EU, in as many years. The case was being fought under the premise that Google was using their position as market leaders for unfair practices.
Google’s credibility has come under the scanner lately, owing to many such cases being waged against the company. In 2017, the EU fined Google €4.3 billion for a similar case of misusing their market position, and in the following year of 2018, they announced another fine of €2.4 billion, for tampering with shopping results on their search engine.
According to the latest case, which the company has been charged with, Google had clauses in their agreement, which effectively forbid their AdSense customers from accepting advertising offers from any of Google’s rival companies. EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager, after due consideration, decided that Google is guilty of the alleged malpractices, resulting in the hefty fine, which also means Google have been asked to pay fines amounting to over €8 billion by the EU antitrust committee.
Google have been trying to revert these practices, as they are now enabling smaller competitors with a platform to push ahead from. However, given their history, it is not a move that has elicited the positive response that Google would have wished for.
“We’ve seen in the past that a choice screen can be an effective way to promote user choice. It is welcome that Google is stepping up its effort and we will watch closely to see how the choice-screen mechanism evolves.” said Vestager.