Google fined for blocking ad rivals with €1.49 billion by EU
Google was fined €1.49 billion ($1.7 billion) by the European Union for limiting how some websites could display ads sold by its rivals, the tech giant’s third antitrust penalty from the block since 2017.
The EU's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said Google had prevented rivals from being able to "compete and innovate fairly" in the online ad market.
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) 20 March 2019
"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," Vestager said in Brussels.
EU versus Google
It is the third antitrust fine from Brussels against the search engine giant.
Last July, regulators in Brussels hit the Alphabet unit with a $5 billion fine for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system.
Google lets phone makers use the open-source Android software for free, but the EU accused it of benefiting its own services, including forcing phone makers to bundle Google products like Search, Maps and Chrome with its app store, Play.
In a blog post Tuesday, Walker said European Android customers will now be asked which apps they would like to use instead.
Vestager said Wednesday it was welcome news that Google was "stepping up its effort with the Android system" and the the European Commission would watch to see how the improved choice unfolded.
In 2017, the EU fined Google $2.7 billion for favoring its shopping service over competitors.