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21 MAR

Here are all Google’s fines from the European Commission

by Metro

This week, Google got handed a staggering £1.27 billion fine from the European Commission for alleged illegal practices in search advertising.

For those keeping track, this is actually the third time the European Commission has reprimanded the giant US tech firm in less than three years.

Heres a rundown of the three fines the company has been hit with:

June 2017

European flags in front of the Berlaymont building, headquarters of the European commission in Brussels.
European flags in front of the Berlaymont building, headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. (Getty)

Google was fined £2.1 billion for breaching antitrust rules around its online shopping service back in 2017.

The European Commission found the internet giant had given a prominent position to its own Google Shopping service in its own search engine.

In doing so it demoted rival services in the process and caused unfair harm to other businesses.

July 2018

ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 28 : Google logo is seen on a screen in Ankara, Turkey on August 28, 2018. (Photo by Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Android is a big part of Googles business (Getty)

The internet giant was handed a record fine of £3.9 billion for using its Android mobile operating system to cement the dominance of its search engine.

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The European Commission said Google had placed restrictions on mobile phone manufacturers using Android, such as requiring them to pre-install the Google Search and Chrome browser apps on devices in order to gain access to the Google Play Store.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said at the time that the company had abused its position in order to promote its own products. She said it had been denying rivals a chance to innovate and compete on the merits, which was illegal under EU antitrust rules.

March 2019

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: The new Google logo is displayed at the Google headquarters on September 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California. Google has made the most dramatic change to their logo since 1999 and have replaced their signature serif font with a new typeface called Product Sans. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Google has its headquarters in Mountain View, California (Getty)

This week the Commission announced a new fine of £1.27 billion related to practices around the firms advertising business.

It said Google placed exclusivity clauses in contracts with publishers which it says prohibited them from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages.

The agreements are also said to have evolved to allow Google to prevent competitors from placing their adverts in the most visible and clicked on parts of a websites search results pages, as well as give Google control over how attractive, and therefore clicked on, competing search adverts could be.

Will Google pay the fines?

FILE PHOTO: An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich (Reuters)

Google has no choice but to pay the fines if it wishes to continue operating in the EU. However, the company is able to appeal the decisions to delay payment.

Interestingly, the Commission is still within its power to fine the tech giant more money.

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The total fines levied upon Google by the European Commission is a staggering EUR 8.25 billion, commented Jonas Koponen, competition partner at global law firm Linklaters.

Although that amount is unprecedented, Commission Vestager commented that it still did not reach the maximum 10% turnover cap which limits the Commission when setting fines in individual cases, he said.

Commissioner Vestager indicated that the Commission may not be finished with Google, as they continue to receive complaints in relation to general internet search with respect to Googles services such as jobs and local search. These comments make it clear that the digital economy is undoubtedly a continuing priority for the Commission.

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