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E.U. Slaps Google with $1.7 Billion Fine



Antitrust Violations Pile Up Against Big Tech

Google was fined 1.7 billion dollars by the E.U. Photo / Adobe Stock

Google was fined 1.7 billion dollars (1.5 Billion Euros) for online advertising antitrust violations. This is the third fine from European authorities since 2017. The fines, along with those against other big tech firms, have established the European Union as the most consequential oversight body in policing internet tech firms that are seen as having too much power.

Europe is a leader in taking a stronger approach to reigning in firms such as Amazon, Facebook and Google (Alphabet). A broad consensus holds that these huge tech behemoths represent a danger to fair competition.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anticompetitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites, this is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules.”

Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s top antitrust watchdog

 A variety of infractions have been committed by Google in the past couple years. They were fined for misusing their Android ownership to undercut rivals. Google was also fined for attaching an increased amount of text ads to third party companies who used the Google search bar.

The internet search leader bundled its ad platform within the third party custom search engines. This practice undercut Microsoft, Yahoo, and other digital advertising companies.

European authorities have been more aggressive with tech companies, demanding improved privacy, transparency, and even copyright regulations. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has fined Google over 3 billion dollars since 2017. Alphabet/Google owes a total of 8.2 Euros (9.3 billion dollars). Google hasn’t paid the fines yet, and plans to appeal. Google stock is up 17 percent in 2019.

In the U.S., Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democratic candidate for President in 2020 said that Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple should be broken up due to various antitrust issues.

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