Google agrees to change ad practices after France fines $267 million

Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) agreed to pay a fine of $267 million (€220 million) and make changes to its online advertising products, which have become a must for millions of ad publishers in the industry, as part of a settlement with French regulators in an antitrust lawsuit that found the tech giant guilty of using its market power.

The case focused on Google Ad Manager and found that it favoured Google’s AdX by providing data about competitor bids. 

Yesterday, France’s competition authority said that they accepted the commitments that Google proposed in order to settle the case, including not allowing AdX to use rival bids to improve its own bids and providing rivals equal access to ad auction data, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Also Read: Italy fines Google $123 million for alleged app market abuse

The watchdog said that their decision to sanction Google will make it easier for ad publishers to seek damages from the tech giant. 

The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it’s the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies,” said Isabelle de Silva, the President of the French Competition Authority.

She also said that they reduced the amount of the fine due to the settlement, however, didn’t provide further information. 

Also Read: Russia fines Google, Facebook for not removing banned content

While the commitments Google promised will only bind in France (for three years), it may give us a clue as to what steps the company will take for such complaints in other countries.

Written by Sophie Blake


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