France fines Google 220 million euros over online ad dominance

Paris, June 7, 2021: France’s competition regulator on Monday fined Google 220 million euros ($267 million) subsequent to discovering it had abused its dominant market position for placing online ads, the most recent move by European authorities to take harder positions against US tech giants.

The penalty is part of a settlement reached after three media groups – News Corp, French daily Le Figaro and Belgium’s Groupe Rossel, blamed Google for monopolizing online ad sales.

The Autorite de la Concurrence established that Google gave special treatment to its own ad auction service AdX and Doubleclick Ad Exchange platform, during real time auctions.

Customers attempting to put advertisements on internet sites or mobile apps utilizing rival platforms frequently discovered they were paying more than those utilizing both of Google’s services, since regrouped under the Google Ad Manager brand.

The regulator said Google didn’t challenge its findings and has focused on operational changes incorporating improved interoperability with 3rd party advertisement placement providers.

“It is the first ruling in the world to scrutinize the complex algorithmic cycles for the auctions that decide online display advertising,” the authority’s leader Isabelle de Silva said in an statement.

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