Does Google risk getting its fourth fine of more than a billion euros? This is likely since the European Commission is preparing to hit the web juggernaut again and its ultra-dominant position in the online advertising market, says Reuters.
Online advertising, sinews of war
Brussels has been investigating the subject for more than a year. At the start of the case, in June 2021, Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, explained that she feared that Google “made it more difficult for competing online advertising services to compete on the ad tech stack” due to its ubiquity “at almost all levels of the chain”. 16 months later, the situation does not seem to have improved and Google could be fined in 2023 a new fine of more than one billion euros.
According to Reuters, Google would have accepted some compromises to calm things down, but the efforts made by the company do not seem sufficient, the firm controlling between 25 and 30% of the online advertising market, ahead of Facebook. , Amazon and others. Selling ads on its search engine, Android, YouTube, Gmail and all its other services brought the company a hundred billion dollars last year. A sum which is equivalent to nearly 80% of the total income of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
More than 8 billion fines in 10 years
If you have a feeling of deja vu, it’s completely normal, because it’s far from the first time that Google has been in the sights of the European Commission. In 2017, the company was convicted of unfair commercial practices and abuse of a dominant position on its price comparator. In 2018, a fine of 4.34 billion dollars was imposed due to the commercial policy carried out with the Android mobile operating system. In 2019, it was the AdSense advertising network and its “anti-competitive contractual restraints” which had prompted the EU to ask Google for $1.49 billion. At the national level, France recently condemned Google twice, in June 2021 and March 2022.
In total, Brussels has claimed more than 8 billion euros in fines from Google over the past decade. And the situation is not likely to improve for the web giant since the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act, validated recently by the European authorities, should grant more powers to the EU authorities to sanction the Internet giants. It is quite possible that Google agrees to review its practices in the online advertising market by 2023, but the noose is tightening quickly.