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Billions and counting: Biggest fines slapped against Google in recent years

Billions and counting: Biggest fines slapped against Google in recent years

Billions and counting: Biggest fines slapped against Google in recent years

French antitrust watchdog on July 13 imposed a 500 million euros ($593 million) fine on Google for failing to comply fully with its order in a row with the country's news publishers, the latest in a series of penalties slapped on the tech giant for various violations.

News publishers AFP, APIG and SEPM have accused Alphabet-owned Google of failing to open negotiations in good faith with them to find a common ground for remuneration of news content on the internet. This was to happen under a recent European Union (EU) directive that creates so-called "neighbouring rights".

The case focused on whether Google breached temporary orders issued by the antitrust authority calling for the talks to take place within three months with any news publishers that asked for them.

If the search giant doesn't present compensation offers to news publishers in the next two months, Google may face additional penalties of up to 900,000 euros ($1.1 million) a day.

This was not the first time Google has been slapped with a hefty fine, particularly by authorities in the EU.

Earlier in June, the French competition authority fined Google 220 million euros ($262 million) for abusing its market power in the online advertisement industry.

The California-based company's practices "are particularly serious because they penalise Google's competitors" in certain markets and publishers of mobile sites and applications, the statement by the competition authority said.

The commission also imposed a 1.49 billion euro ($1.75 billion) fine on Google in March 2019 for breaching antitrust rules by imposing unfair terms on companies that used its search bar on their websites in Europe.

Antitrust laws are regulations that encourage fair competition in business by limiting the market power of a particular company and controlling monopolies.

Before that, the commission had penalised Google 4.34 billion euros ($5.11 billion) in July 2018 for illegal practices regarding its Android-operated mobile devices. "Google imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search," the European Commission had observed.

In 2017, Google was fined 2.42 billion euros ($2.7 billion) by the European Commission after it ruled that the tech giant had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of the search results page.

"Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors," Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, had said. Many of these EU cases remain under appeal.

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