The French Competition Authority has imposed a fine of 220 million euros (268 million dollars) to Google for promoting their own services in the internet advertising sector, as reported in a statement on Monday. In this way he solves an antitrust investigation for abuse of power in internet advertising. Google “did not question the facts” and the fine was decided in the context of a negotiation procedure with the US giant, says the French competition regulator.
The French Competition Authority explains that Google has prioritized, to the detriment of its rivals, sending to its ad business servers and its ad auction system on-line. 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 to fine Google is particularly significant, as it is the first in the world to address the complex algorithmic auction processes used for online display advertising,” said Isabelle de Silva, director of the Competition Authority of France.
In separate cases, French antitrust regulators are beginning to curb anti-competitive behavior in online advertising from tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook. While the Google case ended with a fine, Facebook tried to avoid it last week by pledging to appease regulators.
The Google case stems from a complaint filed in 2019 by News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media company, along with the French newspaper Le Figaro and the Belgian media group Rossel La Voix.
It is not the first time that Google has come under French antitrust scrutiny over online advertising. It already received a fine of 150 million euros in 2019. The search engine is also at risk of receiving a sanction in the coming weeks for suspicions that it did not comply with an order related to its news service.