EU asks Google to pay $1.7 bn for blocking ad rivals

The European Union (EU) has asked Google to pay 1.49 billion euros or $1.69 billion for stifling competition in the online advertisement sector, CNBC reported.
Google Internet ChinaGoogle’s Adsense pushes advertisements triggered by search engines embedded websites. Rival firms to Google claimed the product was placed on websites with the understanding that no other systems could be on the same page.

EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google had prevented rivals from being able to compete and innovate fairly in the online ad market.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” said Vestager.

The Alphabet company has previously defended its use of the technology, claiming it has been in place since 2006, is now superseded, and is a minor product.

Google’s core advertising business revenue increased 20 percent from the previous quarter to $32.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, Google reported.

The European Commission said between 2006 to 2016 Google was by far the strongest player in the online search advertising in the European Economic Area (EEA), with a market share above 70 percent.

Google’s SVP of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday that European Android customers will now be asked which apps they would like to use instead.
It is the third antitrust fine on Google.

Last July, regulators in Brussels hit the Alphabet unit with a $5 billion fine for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, Bloomberg reported.

In 2017 Google, received a $2.7 billion penalty from the EU for favoring its shopping service over competitors, Reuters reported.

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