Google Hit With (Yet Another) $1.7B Antitrust Fine From The EU

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Google received yet another antitrust fine from the European Union, its third one within the last year, this time over its abuse of the dominant position of its advertising platform. In a release published Wednesday, the political bloc confirmed it sanctioned Google with another €1.49 billion, which amounts to approximately $1.7 billion, clearly stating Alphabet's subsidiary violated the EU's antitrust rules with the manner wherein it operated its online advertising platform.

Verdict: guilty

For over a decade, the terms of use attached to Google's AdSense mandated the company's clients don't experiment with rival solutions. This not only killed most competitors in their infancy but consequently prevented innovation in the segment.

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Google first introduced that illegal policy in 2006 and while it eased those restrictions in 2009, it continued enforcing AdSense platform requirements within the spirit of the original terms until 2016. Coincidentally, the firm dropped that strategy within days of the EU announcing the beginning of an official probe into Google's AdSense dealings.

Business model: monopoly

The latest development puts Google's antitrust bill with the European Union at the equivalent of some $9.3 billion and marks the end of the first phase of the bloc's efforts to curb the Mountain View, California-based tech giant.

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EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager has no more open investigations into Google but continues to look at other aspects of its business as well. Google appealed the last two fines, both of which were broke the record of the largest monetary sanction ever issued in the EU based on competition laws, and will almost certainly be mounting a lengthy pushback against the newly announced one.

Google status: laughing all the way to the bank

As was the case with the last two fines Google received for breaking the EU's strict-but-rather-straightforward competition rulebook, this sanction is coming many years too late to change anything. Even assuming Google pays the fine, which might only happen a decade from now after all of its legal options are exhausted, the total sum is a but a drop in the ocean of money the company already earned from its monopolistic actions.

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It's a classic case of "too little, too late;" Google already established a monopoly and no amount of money will make it give up on it now.

The company is well-aware of that fact and continues to operate with the same M.O. In fact, it was just yesterday that it announced yet another project that's fundamentally inclined to strive toward a monopoly. Called Stadia, the new platform is a hybrid of a game and video streaming service seeking to replace the very concept of traditional gaming hardware such as consoles and high-powered PCs.

Google outright said it's aiming to have developers target Stadia instead of other platforms in the future because Stadia can technically stream games to anything with a screen and a suitable Internet connection. Naturally, console makers were nowhere near its Tuesday announcement as most of them are working on streaming services of their own but that won't stop Google from growing its ecosystem by any means necessary.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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