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March 20, 2019

The EU hits Google with another big, well-deserved fine

It serves them right.

European authorities on Wednesday fined Google 1.5 billion euros for antitrust violations in the online advertising market, continuing its efforts to rein in the world’s biggest technology companies.

The fine, worth about $1.7 billion, is the third against Google by the European Union since 2017, reinforcing the region’s position as the world’s most aggressive watchdog of an industry with an increasingly powerful role in society and the global economy. The regulators said Google had violated antitrust rules by imposing unfair terms on companies that used its search bar on their websites in Europe.

The EU’s Margrethe Vestager said it well when she declared:

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anticompetitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.”

It’s nice to hear somebody in a position of public responsibility saying this and then back it up with action.

What’s sad, though, is that the United States keeps letting Google skate when it can see the same thing that European Union regulators can see. The difference is that the EU cares about combating monopolistic behavior while the U.S. authorities don’t.

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