Google has been slapped with a €1.5 BN antitrust fine. EU antitrust commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said that Google had 'denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate' by blocking AdSense customers from signing contracts with other search engines. It comes after Google had previously received two different fines over the past two years. One for having Chrome and Google search preinstalled on Android, and the other for featuring its own shopping comparison tool at the top of search results, and no one else's.
The big G responded by saying that they're already trying to fix stuff up with the European Commission:
"We've already made a wide range of changes to our 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."
For Google, these fines are just like a speeding ticket. They'll say sorry to Mr Cop, then speed off down the road of market dominance and anti-competitive practises. It's just a little nudge to tell them that they're going too fast for the poor little humans.
The actual reason for the fine, though, is Google's Adsense for Search, which between 2006 and 2016, had a clause which prevented users of the service from displaying ads from other services in their CSE results. Google amended this slightly in 2009, when the clause was updated to allow third-party ads, but only in the least prominent spaces. Companies and individuals using Adsense for Search had to write to Google to get permission and were required to have a minimum quantity of Adsense adverts. Since web ads are pay per click, the competing ads would get fewer clicks, making Google's competitors earn less money. This led to said competitors having less money to grow their business and making them less competitive. This led to a large volume of publishers to solely rely on Google.
Ms Vestager finished up the press conference by saying that "there was no reason for Google to include these restrictive clauses in their contracts, except to keep rivals out of the market." Hence, Google got slapped with a whopping big fine. At this rate, the government's database is going to be full of pictures of speeding Street View cars. Google Drive, Anyone?
The Titans have fallen,