European Union fines Google €1.5 billion for antitrust violations

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The European Union fined Google €1.49 billion for hampering potential rival search advertisers between 2006 and 2016, closing the last formal EU investigation into the US tech company. EU Competition 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 . . . 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 case focused on Google’s AdSense business which provides text-only ads to third-party websites based on searches performed on their site, such as blogs and retailers. The niche business has been in decline as online advertisements have shifted to picture and video formats as well as ads that recall where you have been.

EU fines Alphabet’s Google €1.5bn for antitrust violations