Google has been hit with an anti-trust funding of € 1.5 billion from the EU over restrictive contracts that it forced on customers through its AdSense business.
At a press conference this morning, EU anti-trust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that the technology giant had abused its dominant position by forcing customers of its AdSense business to turn off advertising from Google's rivals.
Sa Vestager: "The misconception lasted for over 10 years and denied other companies the opportunity to compete on the benefits and innovate."
fine is the third major penalty The EU has been burdening the tech girl for so many years, closing its last open probe for the firm. Google was fined a record $ 4.3 billion last year to abuse its market dominance in mobile and € 2.4 billion the year before to manipulate search results. Google now appeals both cases.
With the new penalty, Google's total EU antitrust cartel stands at 8.2 billion euros ($ 9.3 billion). Today's fine was lower than the previous two, when Google actively worked with the European Commission to change its AdSense policy after the EU announced its case in 201
The controlled policy dates back to 2006. Then Google began selling customers its AdSense for Search product. This allows companies such as resellers and newspapers to post a Google search box on their website. When visitors used the search box, Google showed them ads and shared the commission with the site's owners.
But Google also made customers signal contracts that forbid them from including competing search engines on their sites along with Google's own. In 2009, Google allowed competing search engines as long as Google was more prominent. So in 2016, the company completely removed these terms.
This climber reflects AdSense's diminishing importance to Google. The business was a steady earner, but never a large part of the company's revenue stream. According to Bloomberg AdSense contributed less than 20 percent of the company's revenue in 2015 and has fallen since. "If you look at annual reports, AdSense is less and less relevant," Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Aitor Ortiz told the publication.
During the press conference this morning, Commissioner Vestager also offered updates on Google's response to its other antitrust fines. For example, with regard to the manipulation of shopping search results, Vestager said that Google's changes increased the visibility of rivals from 6 percent of search results to 40 percent.
Vestager also noted that, in response to the antitrust case against Android, Google has decided this week to give users a choice about the browser and search engine they use on their phones (rather than just pre-installing Google's own services).
"We have previously seen that a election screen can be an effective way to promote user choice," says Vestager. "It's welcome that Google reinforces its efforts and we want to see closely on how the electoral mechanism evolves. "
Although today's finale puts an end to the EU's current trilogy with open probes, the organization still sees a number of other areas of Google's business and could open up new issues in the future. "We continue to get complaints from people who are concerned about how these markets work, so we will continue to do our job," said Vestager. "For me, the most important thing here is to enable user selections."