The European Commission announced yet another antitrust fine against Google today, imposing a €1.49 billion ($1.69b) penalty for unfairly shielding its AdSense advertising platform from competition. "Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites", commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in an official statement
The European Commission’s latest ruling against Google
is by no means the first time that the EU’s watchdog has taken action against an American tech company. In fact, Google itself got a taste of EU antitrust regulation as recently as last year. In July 2018, the European Commission hit Google with a record-breaking €4.3 billion fine for allegations related to Android
after having fined the company €2.4 billion
($2.7b) for anticompetitive behavior related to Google Shopping in July 2017.
As the following chart illustrates, other tech giants have felt the wrath of the European Commission as well. Microsoft alone has been fined four times over the past two decades including three times for allegedly ignoring previous antitrust sanctions and for breaking promises made in an earlier antitrust settlement. The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has made U.S. tech companies a central focus, cracking down on anticompetitive behavior, tax avoidance and mishandling of user privacy.