After ruling that Google had exploited its dominating market position for putting online adverts, France’s competition regulator penalized it 220 million euros ($267 million), the latest move by European authorities to adopt harder stances against US internet firms.
The fine is part of a deal reached after three media companies — News Corporation, Le Figaro, and Groupe Rossel of Belgium — accused Google of essentially monopolizing internet ad sales.
Google offered preferential treatment to its own ad auction service AdX and the Doubleclick Ad Exchange platform, a real-time auction platform, according to the Autorite de la Concurrence.
Clients who tried to run ads on rival platforms on websites or mobile applications typically found that they were paying more than those who used both of Google’s services, which have subsequently been merged under the Google Ad Manager name.
Google has agreed to operational adjustments, including enhanced interoperability with third-party ad placement providers, according to the regulator.
In a statement, the authority’s president Isabelle de Silva stated, “It is the first ruling in the world to scrutinize the complicated mathematical processes for the auctions that determine online ‘display’ advertising.”