Google faces its third important antitrust fine in the EU. This time the corporate was penalized 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for “abusive practices in online advertising” involving publisher contracts surrounding AdSense for search.
The superb “takes account of the duration and gravity of the infringement. . . . [and] has been calculated on the basis of the value of Google’s revenue from online search advertising intermediation in the EEA,” in line with the European Commission (EC) statement.
More than $9 billion in fines. Last yr Google was fined a record 4.3 billion euros (roughly $5 billion) antitrust fine ensuing from Google Play app pre-set up contracts with telephone makers. And in 2017, Google was fined 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) for favoring its own content in shopping search outcomes.
All three formal antitrust complaints have resulted in heavy fines, a complete of 8.2 billion euros ($9.3 billion). Google has appealed each the earlier fines and can doubtless attraction this one.
The “abusive contracts.” The EC stated that exclusivity provisions in Google AdWords agreements (“AdSense for Search“) with third-social gathering publishers prohibited them from utilizing competing providers and restricted the way in which publishers had been in a position to show advertisements from Google’s rivals.
Antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager issued the next assertion along with the choice:
“Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. 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. 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.”
The EC stated that Google’s agreements made it troublesome for Microsoft or Yahoo to compete for publishers’ enterprise.
Here come the non-public lawsuits. Google modified the agreements in 2016 when the formal antitrust criticism was issued. So the disputed conduct has ended. However the EC says that Google could now face civil actions for damages “by any person or business affected by its anti-competitive behaviour.”
Expect a variety of lawsuits from publishers and others to happen. Google additionally faces a potential fourth antitrust case over local search that has not formally been declared.
Why it is best to care. The EC’s Margrethe Vestager’s time period as Europe’s antitrust lead is up this yr and he or she won’t doubtless be reappointed. However, earlier than she goes I might anticipate a fourth Statement of Objections (formal expenses) to be filed in opposition to Google in native search that may most likely flip into in another massive superb. The logic is just about similar to that within the buying search case that resulted in a $2.7 billion penalty.
Together, these fines and outcomes put rising stress on U.S. officers to take some new motion in opposition to Google regardless of the closure of the 2013 FTC antitrust case with out important penalties.