The European Commission has fined Google US$1.7 billion for breaching European Union antitrust rules.
The global internet giant was fined 1.49 billion euros (US$1.7 billion dollars) Wednesday for abusing the dominance of its search engine to block competitors in the market of selling text ads on the search results that appear on third-party websites.
The fine was calculated based on the value of Google's revenue from online search advertising sales in the European Economic Area (EEA), said the European Commission.
“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,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.
Google's strategy utilizing it's AdSense products as an online search advertising brokerage is at question. The company contracts with "publisher" websites, such as newspapers or travel sites, which use search functions. When users execute a search, the website, using AdSense delivers both search results and related ads made to look like results.
Google was stopping publishers from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, forcing them to reserve the most profitable space on their search results pages for Google’s adverts.
Google has already been fined twice by the European Commission.
Vestager, in July 2018, imposed a record US$4.9 billion fine on Google for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen the dominance of Google's search engine. In June 2017, the Commission fined Google US$2.7 billion or abusing its dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to the company's own comparison shopping service.