Google may be facing its second massive fine from the European Union this year, this time due to antitrust issues with its AdSense activities. Margrethe Vestager, E.U. competition commissioner, is expected to make her antitrust penalty decision in coming weeks.
Google Had to Pay €2.4 Billion in June 2017
This is rather familiar ground for Google, which was required pay another massive fine earlier this year for the abuse of its internet search monopoly in advertising its own e-commerce service. While the first penalty Google had to pay this year was record breaking for the European competition regulations, it was only the beginning. The results of two other investigations were to follow.
These investigations are in response to the European Commission’s “statements of objection” filed in 2016. They alleged that Google was associating excessively burdensome requirements to the Android OS. They also claimed that Google was roping websites with Adsense use into exclusivity arrangements that held back its competition.
Google is King in Both Mobile and Desktop Marketing
This position of dominance in both markets places it in a very careful position. Any time the company attempts to exploit its powerful position, the commission interprets this as an antitrust regulations breach.
The European Commission was also expected to slap Google with another fine regarding its Android mobile software before the end of 2017. However, outcomes of that investigation will most likely be delayed until next year in order to provide E.U. officials with the opportunity to perform their due diligence.
Google will First be Fined for AdSense Dominance Abuse
The E.U. has given priority to the abuse of Google’s dominance over online advertising through its AdSense network. The commission contends that Google’s agreements with the websites on which its AdSense ads are displayed break a competition law. The reason is that it requires exclusivity from participating sites, blocking them from also displaying ads from rival networks.
This case against Google was seen as particularly important as it cuts into the very core of Google’s top revenue generating arm, its advertising business. As of yet, the size of the fine is unknown, but it is predicted to be as high as several hundred millions – if not billions – of euros.