EU - Google Fined $1.7 Billion

Arno Froese

Alphabet Inc unit Google was fined 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion), its third large European Union antitrust penalty in two years marking the company’s decade-long regulatory battle in Europe.

The European Commission, which said the fine amounted to 1.29 percent of Google’s turnover in 2018, said that the case focused on the company’s illegal practices in search advertising brokering from 2006 to 2016.

“Today’s decision is about how Google abused its dominance to stop websites using brokers other than the AdSense platform,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a news conference.

The misconduct included stopping publishers from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, forcing them to reserve the most profitable space on these pages for Google’s adverts and a requirement to seek written approval from Google before making changes to how rival adverts were displayed.

The AdSense advertising case was triggered by a complaint from Microsoft Corp in 2010. Both companies subsequently dropped complaints against each other in 2016.

Google said it was taking action to comply with EU orders in two previous cases, one of which concerned its Android mobile operating system that resulted in a record 4.34 billion euro fine last year while the shopping comparison case led to a 2.42 billion euro fine.

“We’ve always agreed that healthy, thriving markets are in everyone’s interest. We’ve already made a wide range of changes to our products to address the Commission’s concerns,” Kent Walker, senior vice-president of global affairs [for Google], said in a statement.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe,” he added.

Vestager welcomed the move, saying: “We see positive developments both in the shopping and Android case.”

-www.reuters.com, 20 March 2019

Arno's commentary

It seems amazing how quickly laws are being established that can be implemented to punish those who are guilty of violating the law. Consider the fact that only a century ago, sophisticated technology didn’t exist. Furthermore, that Google, in this case, is willing to implement “a wide range of changes to our products,” clearly shows the power of international law.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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