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EU hits Google with $1.7 billion fine for "abusive" online advertising practices

By midian182 · 16 replies
Mar 20, 2019
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  1. This is the third time in two years that the EU has imposed a multi-billion dollar punishment on Google. It was hit with a $2.7 billion fine for promoting its own shopping services in search results in 2017, and this was followed by a record $5 billion fine in 2018 for requiring Android OEMs to pre-install the Google Search app and its Chrome browser “as a condition for licensing Google’s app store.”

    The latest fine comes after the EU found Google guilty of preventing third-party websites that used its AdSense for Search boxes from displaying search ads from competitors in the results page.

    In 2009, Google replaced these exclusivity deals with “Premium Placement” clauses. These required publishers reserve the most profitable spaces on their search results pages for Google’s ads and request a minimum number of Google adverts. Publishers also had to seek written approval from Google before making changes to the way rival ads were displayed, letting the company know "how attractive, and therefore clicked on, competing search adverts could be."

    “Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts,” said EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager. “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.”

    In the world of online search advertising, Google held a market share above 70 percent between 2006 and 2016. Last year, its share dropped to 60 percent from around 90 percent a year earlier.

    The announcement comes just after Google said it would ask Android users in Europe to pick their preferred browser and search engine—a response to the Android antitrust case.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,234   +894

    "This is the third time in two years that the EU has imposed a multi-billion dollar punishment on Google. It was hit with a $2.7 billion fine for promoting its own shopping services in search results in 2017, and this was followed by a record $5 billion fine in 2018 for requiring Android OEMs to pre-install the Google Search app and its Chrome browser “as a condition for licensing Google’s app store.”

    The latest fine comes after the EU found Google guilty of preventing third-party websites that used its AdSense for Search boxes from displaying search ads from competitors in the results page."


    I fail to see any wrongdoing here.
     
    Mikael_r and KG363 like this.
  3. Google should just straight up block their services from being accessed in the EU for a week. Then we'll see the EU stop complaining about issues such as these that are a colossal waste of time.
     
    KG363 likes this.
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    One thing lawyers love is precedent... I.e. a decision has already been made that we could use here.
    Google got in trouble for forcing use of it's Chrome browser in an operating system they owned. In the 1990's Microsoft got fined in the US for even less - they gave away IE for free with windows, which was deemed to block competition to Netscape who was selling their internet browser for $30 at the time. What Google is doing is easily worse than that was because they're actually restricting use of the App store for those that don't comply - compared to what MS did, which was just give away something for free.

    And now they're blocking search results from competitors of their Ad Sense customers? C'mon, Google - there is no good defense to blocking or de-ranking search results.

    I'd like to know if Google has actually paid anything - or if these decisions are just tied up in appeals and legal wrangling.
     
    Underdog likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,377   +3,772

    Good for them! Companies that install practices that are anti-competitive need to be policed. Doing business in the US was and remains a privilege, not a right and governments that allow business to run them soon fall into decay and risk serious backlash from their buyers. Google has been doing this as a part of "business as usual" for way too long. Back in the 50's and 60's we had a good balance between corporations and US law but it has steadily declined.
     
    Underdog and wiyosaya like this.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,956   +2,270

    :facepalm:
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antitrust
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitrust
     
    Evernessince likes this.
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,831   +675

    How else the EU gonna pay all those workers not to work?
     
  8. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,936   +1,485

    I love that instead of trying to fix what's wrong they just fine them, take money and after that nothing happens. It's just free money they want.
     
    Mikael_r likes this.
  9. lexster

    lexster TS Maniac Posts: 450   +219

    I think I'm going to opt for no ads. Thanks.
     
    Underdog likes this.
  10. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Booster Posts: 187   +90

    It's sleazy when you search for some term, for example app name, it offers you the same link twice. Top choice is a paid ad, right below it is a free choice. Which is identical. Because it's the obvious choice (especially if you typed the site name). But it still offers you the ad first, because 90% of people will click the top choice.

    I always choose the bottom one, because it's really a scam to offer the same result twice, with the paid clone on top. It's very similar to tricks found on sex or pirate sites, where they plant the ad below the mouse cursor at the moment you click something else.

    Google should be punished for such behavior. It's really disgusting. I would understand they are doing such measures if they were at the edge of bankruptcy. But business is going well, they are spying on everyone using their services and Android, but they still resort to extortion of clicks from their customers. Nasty practice.
     
    Underdog likes this.
  11. oizoduck

    oizoduck TS Rookie

    2billlions for google is nothing they make it in less than two days, Next one will be Microsoft for pushing adds into premium products without any agreement.
     
  12. m3tavision

    m3tavision TS Maniac Posts: 260   +169

    ?

    That is why young people can't vote. They don't have a history of knowledge to base their opinions on. What they are doing is highly improper. As someone already stated, Microsoft was busted for the similar thing... which is how the browser wars started.
     
  13. Mikael_r

    Mikael_r TS Member

    Right? It's basically like complaining that Coke prefills their bottles with coke instead of Pepsi, or Nike making a commercial advertising their own shoes. Just let Google advertise their own products on their own system. If someone was interested in the other competition, they'd be using the competition's products.
     
  14. m3tavision

    m3tavision TS Maniac Posts: 260   +169

    A search engine is not allowed to be discriminate.

    Or else, how would you ever trust it's search results. Back when, you use to be able to type/add a boolean expressions to narrow you search hits, because EVERYTHING with those results would hit. Google and others no longer supports such searches and try to guess at what you are looking for, so you don't have to search several times, etc.

    Adds were not part of the original search engines and Google started slipping them in for revenue and fooling people, until the world's government said no, you have to disclose such "hits" on the search, as actually advertisements. Not fool people into thinking they are legit searches.

    It has all gone down hill from there. You might not care because everything you are, is owned by google and you can't escape. But that doesn't mean people who do know what is going on, should be subject to google searches.
     
  15. havok585

    havok585 TS Addict Posts: 201   +58

    HAHA, you are such naive. They cant afford it.

    You must be new to how business works.

    If Google did that, they will suffer losses like a big e-tail shop if they closed for a day or two.
     
  16. Considering how many times Google has been fined for ridiculous things from the EU, it would probably be less profit lost than what they're consistently paying out in fines.

    Except this time it would prove a point.
     
  17. Mikael_r

    Mikael_r TS Member

    I understand what you're saying here. There is an expectation for what a search engine is and what it should provide.
    However, behind every single search engine is a company, and every company on earth exists for the sake of making money. To provide a search engine service like google requires billions on hardware and they can't provide this service at the level we expect from them without advertisements.
    No one is really subject to google searches unless they choose to use google. I still use Firefox every now and then instead of Chrome, and use DuckDuckGo instead of google. Google should be treated like any other company, and I personally think they have a right to advertise their own products in their own environment.
     

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