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France Fines Google €220 Million

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The French competition authority has fined Google EUR 220 million for abusing its dominant position in the online advertising market.

 

The fine is part of a settlement the French authorities have reached with Google, following allegations of abuse of power by media companies News Corp, the Belgian Groupe Rossel and the French newspaper Le Figaro. They filed a complaint about this in 2019 with the cartel watchdog Autorité de la concurrence.

The regulator says that Google has unfairly dealt with online advertisements by favouring its own services to the detriment of rivals. According to the cartel watchdog, Google has agreed to the fine and is taking steps to improve it.

Market regulator chair Isabelle de Silva says the fine is of particular significance as it is the world’s first to look at the complex algorithms used in online advertising. Incidentally, Google was also fined 150 million euros in France in 2019 to violate competition rules in online advertising.

In May, Google was fined more than 100 million euros in Italy for abuse of power. According to the Italian cartel regulator, the American tech company has ruled out a rival app for electric car charging services. In this way, Google favoured its own functionality, and the freedom of choice of competitors was undermined. In Germany, a competition investigation into Google in connection with suspicions of abuse of power is ongoing.

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