The EU has imposed a billion-dollar fine on the US tech company for the third time on Wednesday for hindering competition.
According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Google has ‘cemented its dominance’ and ‘shielded itself from competitive pressure’ by imposing restrictions on other websites through its contracts.
The European Commission, subsequently, ordered Google to pay a sum of $1.7 billion for abusing its dominant position in online search advertising.
The Commission claimed that Google restricted its rivals from placing ads on third-party websites by including exclusivity clauses in AdSense contracts. “This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules,” said the EC commissioner. This ruling covers 2006 to 2016.
In response to this imposition, Google changed its AdSense contracts with third party websites to give way for competition in search ads.
Previously, the Commission had ordered Google to pay $4.9 billion in July 2018 for unfairly pushing its mobile apps on smartphone users which restricted competition. Another fine of $2.7 billion was demanded as Google apparently used its search engine to steer customers to its own shopping sites.
Vestager told reporters that the US tech giant should expect more investigations as “complaints keep coming”.
Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs at Google, said that updates would be released in the coming months to give more “visibility” to rivals in Europe. On Tuesday, the company said in a blog post that it is making further changes to its service based on the “feedback” from the European Commission.
Google shares saw a slight decline post the imposition of fines from Europe.