Google has been fined a colossal $1.49 billion dollars by the European Commission due to its ad brokering business.
EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said that Google had engaged in “illegal practices in order to cement its dominant market position.” The commission came into a conclusion where between 2006 and 2016, they found out that Google’s behaviour was illegal under EU antitrust rules.
“It prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and compete in the market on its merits,” Margrethe Vestager was quoted as saying.
The commission found three types of anti-competitive restrictions that Google was adding in contracts. This include exclusivity provisions that prevented partners from sourcing search ads from Google’s rival, premium ad placement provisions that Google added in 2009 that required they take a minimum of search ads from Google and putting them in the most visible and most profitable parts of the page. The third restriction was where Google put controls on how partner website could display rival ads.
Google is the leading ad broker in the EU where they have over 70% market share since 2006 which is huge.
“There was no reason for Google to include these restrictive clauses in its contracts except to keep rivals out of the market,” Vestager was quoted.
Thanks to this, the Commission now requires Google to put a stop to these illegal restriction in contracts or any other restriction with an equivalent effect.
This is not the first time Google has been fined. They were fined $5 billion last year over anti-competitive behaviours regarding Android and a 2.7 billion fine or Google Shopping in 2017