Alphabet Inc.’s Google was fined 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) by the European Union (EU) for thwarting advertising rivals, a penalty that may be EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vest-ager’s third and final attack on US tech giant.
It brings the total Google has been ordered to pay to 8.2 billion euros in EU antitrust probes that have run for nearly a decade and taken aim at the company’s popular software for Android phones and searches related to shopping.
Wednesday’s case focusses on Google’s role as an ad broker for websites, targeting exclusivity agreements for online ads with its AdSense for Search product.
That service places text advertising on websites. The problematic contracts were all dropped by 2016, when EU escalated the investigation. Advertising revenues that fuel profits for Google and Facebook are increasingly coming under antitrust scrutiny.