UPDATE: Google has been fined 50 million Euros (£44m) by the French data regulator CNIL – more details can be found here.
ORIGINAL STORY: EU’s Competition Commission isn’t done yet with Google, it seems. The media are reporting that Google may be facing another hefty fine from the watchdog concerning its AdSense service.
AdSense is Google’s advertising platform, which allows publications to find advertisers, and vice-versa. However, regulators believe Google is using its domination in the search engine market to make it hard for other companies to compete with AdSense.
According to media reports, EU lawmakers claim Google prevents advertisers from accepting rival search ads, and even restricts how these ads are being displayed.
“Whenever a user enters a search query, in addition to the search results, search ads are also displayed. If the user clicks on the search ad, Google and the third party receive a commission,” the EC explained earlier.
“Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate,” said competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
“If our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition in European markets.”
Bloomberg claims Google will be fined ‘in the coming weeks’.
At the same time, Bloomberg’s analyst Aitor Ortiz thinks Google won’t even scratch this itch, as AdSense is becoming less and less relevant of an offering.
“A fine isn’t likely to cause long-term harm to the company as AdSense has been replaced by other products,” he said. “If you look at the annual reports, AdSense is less and less relevant.”
Date: January 23, 2019