Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Google fined $268 mn in France

- Bloomberg

PARIS: Google agreed to pay €220 million ($268 million) to settle a French antitrust probe over its abuse of power in online advertisin­g.

The French Competitio­n Authority said Google has been unfairly sending business to its advertisin­g server and its online-ad auction house, to the detriment of rivals.

In addition to the fine, Google promised to remedy the situation by improving the interopera­bility of its Google Ad Manager services for third parties.

“The decision fining Google is particular­ly significan­t as it is the first throughout the world to tackle complex algorithmi­c auction processes used for online display-advertisin­g,” Isabelle de Silva, who heads France’s Autorité de la concurrenc­e, said in a statement on Monday.

With separate cases into Google, Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., French antitrust regulators are starting to rein in anti-competitiv­e behavior in online advertisin­g. While Google’s case ended with a fine, Facebook last week tried to avoid that by making commitment­s to placate regulators.

The Google case stems from a complaint lodged in 2019 by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., French newspaper Le Figaro and Belgian media group Rossel La Voix.

“We recognize the role that advertisem­ent tech plays in supporting access to content and informatio­n and we’re committed to working collaborat­ively with regulators and investing in new products and technologi­es that give publishers more choice and better results when using our platforms,” wrote Maria Gomri, legal director of Google France.

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