The European Commission has hit Google with another fine for antitrust rule breaking, this time asking it to pay €1.49bn (£1.2bn) for using anti-competitive guidelines in its online advertising businesses.
In the firing line this time is the way Google imagined-up rules that suited its dominant position in the online search and ad results business, particularly the way it restricted third-party websites from displaying ads for services offered by Google's rivals. As in, if businesses wanted in on Google's magical money-creating internet advertising merry-go-round, they had to agree not to allow Bing ads to pop up anywhere on their sidebars.
This was an abuse of their powers, said EC competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who explained: "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. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate – and consumers the benefits of competition." [EC]