European Union Hits Google With Another $1.7 Billion Antitrust Fine

The European Union has hit Google with another big antitrust fine, the third in a series of billion-dollar penalties the US tech giant has incurred for hindering competition.

The European Commission on Wednesday ordered Google to pay €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) for abusing its dominant position in online search advertising.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that Google (GOOGL) had “cemented its dominance” and “shielded itself from competitive pressure” by imposing contractual restrictions on other websites.

According to the Commission, Google blocked its rivals from placing advertisements on third party websites by imposing exclusivity clauses in AdSense contracts.

AdSense is a Google product that acts as an intermediary between advertisers and website owners that want to profit from the space around their search results pages.

Vestager told reporters that the misconduct lasted for 10 years. The duration was reflected in the size of the fine, she added. Google profits were nearly $31 billion in 2018.

The Commission said Google stopped the illegal practice after the regulator sent it a statement of objections in July 2016.

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SOURCE: CNN, Charles Riley and Ivana Kottasová