Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Google fined $268 mn in France
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.