EU fines Google for abusive its dominance in online advertising

    The fine of 1.49 billion euros reflects the serious and sustained nature of Google's infringement.

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    The European Commission has decided to fine Google for breaking the EU antitrust rules.

    EU fines Google for abusive its dominance in online advertising

     

    Google has engaged in illegal practices in search advertising brokering to cement its dominant market position, EC said in a statement.

    This is the third antitrust fine that we've imposed on Google. In June 2017, we fined Google for its illegal behavior in comparison shopping services. And in July 2018, we fined Google for its illegal behavior relating to the Android mobile operating system and mobile apps and services, EC Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

    "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," Vestager said.

    "The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition," Vestager further said.

    "The fine of 1.49 billion euros reflects the serious and sustained nature of Google's infringement. And anyone who has suffered damage because of Google's behavior can also claim compensation from Google in national courts, Vestager added.

    However, the commission pointed out that Google removed these illegal restrictions from its contracts in 2016, around the time we issued our Statement of Objections. At a minimum, our decision requires Google to put a stop to those restrictions - or any others restriction with equivalent effects, and not to reinstate them.

    Furthermore, the Decision means that Google can no longer oblige device manufacturers to take Google's search and browser products if they take the Google Play Store. It also means that rival search and browser providers can strike exclusive deals with device manufacturers to pre-install their products instead of Google's products.

    While this creates commercial opportunities that did not exist before, there were concerns that this was not sufficient to restore competition.

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