French watchdog fines Google $267 million for abuse of market power in the ad business

PARIS: The French antitrust authority said on Monday it had handed down a 220 million euro ($267 million) fine to Alphabet’s Google for abusing its market power in the online advertising business.
The watchdog said the sanction was the first of its kind in the world and that it had reached a settlement with the US firm under which Google agreed to end some of its self-preferencing practices in the intricate automated online advertising business.
The penalty is part of a settlement reached after three media groups — News Corp, French daily Le Figaro and Belgium’s Groupe Rossel — accused the tech giant of effectively having a monopoly over online ad sales.
“The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it’s the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies,” said France’s antitrust chief Isabelle de Silva.
De Silva said the fine was reduced because of the settlement, but she did not give specifics.

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