Tech giant Google has appealed a $1.7 billion antitrust fine by the E.U, over the company’s “illegal” advertising practices, as the U.S. government begins considering its own antitrust action against the Masters of the Universe at the same time.
CNBC reports that Silicon Valley giant Google has appealed a $1.7 billion antitrust fine from the European Commission for allegedly stifling competition in the online advertising industry. Google was fined by the E.U. in March for the third time for abusing its dominance in the online advertising market via its AdSense business. The E.U. ruled that Google’s restricting of online advertisements by competitors was “illegal” under E.U. antitrust law.
The fine against the company relates to Google’s AdSense advertising service and “illegal practices in search advertising brokering to cement its dominant market position,” according to European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The fine was announced by Vestager in a tweet where she added that Google “denied consumers choice, innovative products, and fair prices.” The tweet can be seen below:
The third @Google case: @Google is fined €1,49bn for illegal practices in search advertising brokering to cement its dominant market position. They shouldn’t do that – it denied consumers choice, innovative products and fair prices.
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) March 20, 2019
Vestager and her team concluded that third-party websites that used Google to power their search and advertising features had “restrictive clauses in contracts” which prevented them from hosting ads from rivals. In a press release, Vestager stated:
Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of 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.
Google appealed the fine in the General Court of the European Union in Brussels on Tuesday. Google confirmed to CNBC that they had filed an appeal, while a European Commission spokesperson stated: “The Commission will defend its decision in Court.”
Breitbart News reported this week that a DOJ investigation of Google could move quickly based on the history of complaints against the company.