January 18, 2019
Total EU antitrust fines handed to Google
Google are expected to be fined by EU antitrust regulators in what would be the third major fine for the tech giant in recent years.
A probe by the European Competition Commission is targeting Google’s AdSense advertising service, with regulators examining whether the company’s contracts unfairly restricted rivals. The EU claims that AdSense, whose European market share is more than 80%, hindered competition by preventing customers from accepting rival search advertisements.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has gained a reputation for her aggressive action against the big four technology companies. In July, the Commission broke records with a €4.3 billion fine relating to the monopolistic use of Google’s Android software to prioritise the company’s own search and web-browser functions. Vestager also opened an investigation into Amazon last September and fined Facebook €110 million in 2017 for providing misleading information about their WhatsApp merger.
If the Commission goes ahead with the fine it will only add to the $7.6 billion racked up by Google over the past eight years, a figure which highlights the consistent failure of Silicon Valley to address its competition problem.