Google Fined €1.5bn Fine By The EU Over Advertising

20th March 2019

The case accuses Google of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.

Google has been hit with a €1.49bn fine from the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers.

The case accuses Google of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.

"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 anti-trust rules,” said EC commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Google's global affairs head, Kent Walker said that Google had already made a wide range of changes to its 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."

In 2006, Google started to include "exclusivity clauses" in contracts which stopped publishers from placing ads from Google rivals such as Microsoft and Yahoo on search pages, the Commission said. The restrictive clauses made Google’s rivals unable to grow and compete, and left website owners completely reliant on Google.

It’s the third advertising-related fine for Google from the EU. Last year, the EU competition authority hit Google with a record €4.34bn fine for using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals, and in 2017, it was fined €2.42bn for hindering rivals of shopping comparison websites.


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