TECHNOLOGY

EU fines Google $1.7 billion for abusing online ads market

Mar 20, 2019, 8:38 AM | Updated: 8:38 am
Google...
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2018, file photo a man using a mobile phone walks past Google offices in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union regulators have fined Google 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominant role in online advertising, the third big antitrust penalty they’ve given the internet giant since 2017.

The latest punishment means the commission has now issued Google with almost $10 billion in fines from probes into various parts of the Silicon Valley tech company’s business.

In the latest ruling, Google and parent company Alphabet were found to have breached EU rules by imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with websites that used its AdSense advertising business. That prevented Google rivals from placing their ads on these sites, the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said Wednesday.

“Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform,” Vestager told a news conference as she outlined the results of the long-running probe.

The AdSense For Search service — known simply as AdSense — lets Google act as a middleman between advertisers and website owners who want to make money by selling space for ads. AdSense allows web publishers such as newspapers and bloggers to place text ads on their websites, with the content of the ads based on results from search functions on their sites.

The commission said Google has 70 percent of the European market for “online search advertising intermediation.”

Microsoft filed a complaint with the EU in 2009 about Google’s service and the commission formally launched its probe in 2016, although it said at the time that Google had already made some changes to give customers more freedom to show competing ads.

Google “prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits,” Vestager said. “Advertisers and website owners, they had less choice and likely faced higher prices that would be passed on to consumers.”

Last year, Vestager hit the company with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion at the time) fine following an investigation into its Android operating system. In 2017, she slapped Google with a 2.42 billion euro ($2.7 billion at the time) fine in a case involving its online shopping search results.

Google’s case highlights how the EU has led the way in promoting tougher regulation for the big tech companies . Besides cracking down on antitrust breaches by multinationals like Microsoft and Intel, the EU has enforced tougher data privacy rules that affect Facebook and other social media companies.

Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said the company agrees that “healthy, thriving markets are in everyone’s interest.”

“We’ve already made a wide range of changes to our products to address the commission’s concerns. Over the next few months, we’ll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe,” Walker said in a statement.

Google, which is appealing both of the earlier cases, said ahead of Wednesday’s announcement that it has put in place remedies required by the commission. The company said in a blog post that it was making some tweaks to its shopping results. It will also start asking European users of new and existing Android phones if they want to use another search service or mobile browser.
___
Follow the AP’s coverage of technology at https://apnews.com/apf-technology and of social platforms at https://apnews.com/Socialplatforms

Today’s Top Stories

Technology

FILE - A Tesla owner charges his vehicle at a charging station in Topeka, Kan., Monday, April 5, 20...
TOM KRISHER AP Auto Writer

US report: nearly 400 crashes of automated tech vehicles

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautioned against using the numbers to compare automakers,
12 days ago
Iran digital intrusion...
Curt Gresseth

Don’t get hacked. Protect your online data by being cyber-ready.

A cyber-security says defend yourself against hackers by being cyber-ready.
2 months ago
The gold star on your license will be needed if you want to fly in the next year....
Dan Bammes

Your driver’s license needs this if you want to fly in the next year

The gold star on your driver's license will be needed for anyone 18 and older. Most people have been getting them as they've renewed their licenses over the past four or so years.
2 months ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego. E...
KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Musk’s Twitter ambitions to collide with Europe’s tech rules

Europe's Digital Services Act requires big tech companies to police their platforms more strictly or face billions in fines.
2 months ago
secondary water davis weber...
Chandler Holt

WSU achieves water conservation goals four years early

Over 5 years ago, Weber State University set a water conservation goal to reduce campus water usage by 30% by 2025, a goal they achieved in 2021.
2 months ago
FILE - Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award i...
MICHELLE CHAPMAN AP Business Writer

Tesla CEO Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for $43 billion

He says the social media platform he has criticized for not living up to free speech principles needs to be transformed as a private company.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
EU fines Google $1.7 billion for abusing online ads market