Tech giant Google has been fined 220 million euros by the French regulator following a probe into allegations that the company’s web services were unfairly sending business to its advertising server.
In an announcement made on Monday, the antitrust authority stated:
“The Competition Authority imposes sanctions on Google in the amount of 220 million euros for promoting its services in the online advertising sector.”
“The decision to fine Google is particularly significant as it is the first throughout the world to tackle complex algorithmic auction processes used for online display-advertising,” Isabelle de Silva, who heads France’s Autorite de la concurrence, said in a statement on Monday.
The French Competition Authority deemed that Google had unfairly directed business towards its own advertising server and its online ad auction house, clearly benefitting itself at the cost of its rivals.
Google has agreed to pay the fine, set at 220 million euros ($268 million). The tech giant has also vowed to improve the interoperability of its Google Ad Manager services for third parties and remedy the situation.
The case against Google was originally raised in 2019 by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., French newspaper Le Figaro, and Belgian media group Rossel La Voix.
French antitrust regulators also have cases against Facebook and Apple, as they attempt to counter anti-competitive behaviour in online advertising.