France fines Google $268M for unfair online ads treatment

U.S. & World
Europe Tax Transparency

FILE – In this April 17, 2007 file photo, exhibitors work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo at the industrial fair Hannover Messe in Hanover, Germany. Germany’s finance minister on Wednesday welcomed an agreement requiring large companies in the European Union to reveal how much tax they paid in which country. The deal was struck late Tuesday between representatives of the EU’s 27 member states and the European Parliament. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

PARIS (AP) — France’s anti-competition watchdog decided Monday to fine Google 220 million euros ($268 million) for abusing its “dominant position” in the online advertising business, an unprecedented move, the body said.

Practices used by Google “are particularly serious because they penalize Google’s competitors” in certain markets and publishers of mobile sites and applications, the statement by the Competition Authority said.

“The authority recalls that a company in a dominant position is subject to a particular responsibility, that of not undermining,” the statement said.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, did not dispute the facts and opted to settle, proposing changes, the statement said.

The head of the authority, Isabelle de Silva, said the decision was unprecedented.

“(It’s) the first decision in the world to look into complex algorithmic auctions processes through which online display advertising works,” she said.

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