European Union hits Google with $1.7B fine for blocking rival ads

EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager from Denmark speaks at a news conference on the concurrence case with Google online search advertising at the European Commission in Brussels Belgium 20 March 2019. The EU on 20 March 2019 fined Goog

With another looming penalty against AdSense, Google and the European Commission now worked out a deal to prompt EU Android users to choose their default browsers and search engines.

The Commission said that Google stopped website publishers from putting adverts from competitors on their search pages. "Therefore, third-party websites represent an important entry point for these other suppliers of online search advertising intermediation services to grow their business and try to compete with Google".

"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites", Vestager, EU commissioner for competition, said.

In 2017, she slapped Google with a $2.84bn (£2.1bn / €2.42bn) fine in a case involving its online shopping search results.

The new fine means that the European Union has imposed financial penalties of €8.3bn on the tech giant in the last three years for multiple infractions. Google only began changing its practices in 2016 when the Commission raised its concerns.

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What's interesting is that Google earlier this week announced a massive change for Android in Europe that's meant to appease an earlier ruling by the Commission.

As of 2009, Google began to replace those clauses with a so-called premium placement clause, requiring websites to save the most visible and clicked on parts of the websites' search results pages for Google. "For almost a decade, we've been in discussions with the European Commission about the way some of our products work", he says.

"Google's practices covered over half the market by turnover throughout most of the period", the competition commission said. Walker writes. "As a result, over the next few months, we'll be making further updates to our products in Europe".

The policy follows otherrequirements placed upon manufacturers last October, which allowed them to pre-install other search engines and browsers for European usersif they paid Google a fee, rather than using the free version of Android, which the company says is funded by the pre-installation of Search and Chrome.

Specifically, owners of both existing and new Android devices will be asked which browser and search apps they want to use.

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