Google fined by France for abuse of online advertising position

Google fined by France for abuse of online advertising position

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google LLC, speaks during the Google Cloud Next ’19 event in San Francisco, California, United States, Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Michael Court | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The French competition supervisory authority imposed a fine Google 220 million euros ($ 267 million) for abusing its market power in the online advertising industry.

The French Competition Authority said monday Google had unfairly sent business to its own services and discriminated against the competition. Google has agreed to pay the fine and end some of its self-preference practices, the watchdog said.

The investigation revealed that Google gives preferential treatment to its DFP ad server, which allows site and app publishers to sell their ad space, and to its SSP AdX SEO platform, which organizes auction processes and allows publishers to sell their “impressions” or ad inventory. to advertisers. Google’s rivals and publishers have suffered, the regulator said.

Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority, said in a statement that the decision is the first in the world “to examine the complex algorithmic auction processes by which online display advertising works.”

She added that the investigation revealed processes by which Google has favored itself over its competitors on ad servers and supply-side platforms, which are software used by publishers to manage, sell and optimize content. ‘advertising space on their websites and mobile applications.

“These very serious practices have penalized competition in the emerging online advertising market and have enabled Google not only to preserve but also to increase its dominant position,” said de Silva.

“This sanction and these commitments will restore a level playing field for all players, and the ability of publishers to make the most of their advertising space.

Google announced in a blog Monday that it will make a series of changes to its advertising technology.

“We recognize the role advertising technology plays in supporting access to content and information and are committed to working collaboratively with regulators and investing in new products and technologies that provide publishers with more choice and better results when using our platforms, ”wrote Maria Gomri, Legal Director of Google France.

The investigation comes after US-based News Corp, French newspaper Le Figaro and Belgian news group Rossel filed a complaint against Google.

Regulators across Europe are cracking down on America’s major tech giants, fearing they wield too much power over the bloc’s 700 million plus citizens.

Last week, Facebook has been affected by two antitrust investigations regulators in the UK and Europe.

The European Commission has launched investigations into Amazon, Google and Microsoft in recent years, while the UK Competition and Markets Authority has also launched investigations into Google and Apple since became a full independent regulator in January following the UK’s exit from the EU.

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