1.49 billion euros: that’s how much the European Commission has fined Google for breaching EU antitrust rules one more time. According to the Commission, Google forced its AdSense clients to sign contracts prohibiting them from accepting advertising from rival search engines.

Commenting on the fine, commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said in a statement: “Today the Commission has fined Google 1.49 billion euros for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for brokering 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”.

Between 2006 and 2016, Google held a share bigger than 70 percent of the online search advertising market in Europe. In some European countries, over 90 percent of general searches are made on Google.

This is not the first time the tech giant receives a substantial fine for breaching European law. In 2017 the company was fined a record 2.4 billion euros for “systematically favoring” its own shopping comparison service, Google Shopping, in search results. After a seven-year investigation, the European Commission concluded that Google promoted Google Shopping results “regardless of their merits”, demoting those of competitors.

 

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