Alphabet Inc.’s Google has been penalized yet again by European antitrust regulators, this time with a €1.49 billion ($1.7 billion) fine for limiting how some websites could display ads sold by its rivals. This marks the third billion-dollar penalty European regulators have imposed on the tech giant for hindering competition.
The EU says that Google abused its dominant position again, this time concerning its AdSense business. The company did it for more than a decade, the European Commission explained, preventing AdSense customers from inking advertising deals with rivals. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager had this to say alongside the judgement:
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 was slapped with a €4.3 billion ($4.88 billion) antitrust fine last year related to Android, and a €2.4 billion ($2.73 billion) fine the year before for its search business. In total, Google is looking at fines totalling €8.2 billion ($9.31 billion) from the EU in just the last three years. The company has appealed the previous two rulings, and it’s likely to do it again with this new fine.