London — Google has agreed to pay a fine of approximately $ 270 million and change some of its business practices as part of a settlement announced on Monday.
The agreement was one of the first examples of antitrust regulators directly targeting Google’s online advertising infrastructure.
The fines are small compared to Google’s entire business (parent company Alphabet earned $ 41 billion last year), but French officials welcomed the concessions it made.
In the United States, Google faces a similar situation. Antitrust investigation About online advertising technology from a group of state attorney generals and UK antitrust regulators.
Bruno Le Mer, French Treasury Minister, welcomed the agreement.
“It is imperative to apply our competitive rules to the digital giants operating in our country,” he said. He added that the accusations of abuse of advertising technology were “serious” and “naturally punished.”
French competition regulator Google said it used its position as the world’s largest Internet advertising company to damage news media and other Internet advertising distributors. Authorities said the services owned by the Silicon Valley giant and used by others to sell ads on the Internet gave Google’s business an advantage and weakened competition.
As part of the settlement, French officials said they agreed to end Google’s incentives for services and change its advertising system to make it easier to work with other services.
Google has built its advantage in online advertising for over a decade and has controlled technology at almost every stage of the process that underpins a significant part of the Internet economy. The service helps publishers sell space on their website, and the technology runs automated auctions where brands can bid to place ads in those slots.
Google’s position has long been a concern among competitors and news publishers. Google’s position claims to give the company unfair insights into advertising prices, inventory and data that no other company can imitate.
Among the companies that have complained to the French authorities about Google were News Corp., the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, who has long criticized the company’s advertising technology, and Rossel La Voix Group, a French publisher. The two companies claim that Google’s power is so widespread that it can narrow down more parts of each ad sale without paying for content creation. He claims that the imbalance has led to a decline in corporate luck and a shrinking press.
French officials have noted a link between Google’s marketplace for auction advertising called AdX and another service called Ad Manager that publishers use to sell website space for advertising. .. According to French competition officials, Google shared the pricing information it gathered from ad managers to give its auction products an edge.
“These very serious practices have penalized competition in the emerging online advertising market, allowing Google to not only maintain its dominant position, but also enhance it,” France said. Isabelle de Silva, president of the competition authorities, said.
Google did not admit fraud in the settlement, but the proceedings may show how the company can appease regulators elsewhere. Google will increase the data available to its competitors and make online advertising services more available. I agreed to make it easy to use.
Independent observers paid by Google are also responsible for ensuring that the company complies with the terms of the settlement. The order is mandatory in France for three years, but Google said some of its policy changes could be applied elsewhere.
“We believe in providing valuable services and competing for benefits, but we promise to actively work with regulators everywhere to improve our products,” says Maria. Gumuri says. General Manager of Legal Department Google France, I wrote in a blog post.
Actions in France are part of increased oversight of the power of the world’s largest tech companies in Europe, the United States and other countries.
last week, European Commission and UK announce Facebook antitrust investigation Through an advertising service called Marketplace. The Commission also charged Apple with antitrust violations for improper treatment of third-party sellers, saying the App Store’s policies were anti-competitive. The European Union is also considering stricter antitrust laws and content moderation rules for the technology sector.
In the United States, federal regulators have filed antitrust violations against Google and Facebook in recent months. Regulators such as Australia, China and Germany have also shown a willingness to enter the digital economy.
Liz Alderman Contributed report.
Google pays $ 270 million to resolve antitrust violations in France
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