We have become quite used to the fact that Internet companies are moody about their users’ livelihoods, usually justifying them as costs of providing a free service or as a prerogative for deciding who and how they do business.
However, if you achieve the monopoly status that Google has clearly achieved in numerous areas such as search traffic, browser sharing and online advertising, the rules will change somewhat and Google will catch up particularly slowly.
With a fine of 150 million euros ($ 167 million) from the French competition authorities, Google will hopefully be informed more quickly about its obligations.
The fine stems from a 4-year complaint from Gibmedia, a weather website publisher, who said Google wrongly blocked the purchase of ads.
Google claimed the company had “tricked people into paying for the service” and “exploited and abusive advertising.”
The French competition authority found that Google had acted improperly by blocking advertisers and had to clarify its rules with advertisers.
“Google has the power of life or death for certain companies that make a living from these ads,” said Isabelle de Silva, chair of the French competition authority, at a press conference to announce the decision. “We do not dispute the right of Google to impose rules. However, the rules must be clear and imposed on all advertisers equally.”
The agency urged Google to end the “brutal and unjustified” ban on search engine advertisers. Google should have a system that notifies advertisers when they risk locking their ad system.
Google, for its part, stood by its actions and said it would contest the decision.