In July 2016, the Guardian online published an article titled 'European Commission files third anti trust charge against Google'. It said "the European commission has filed a third antitrust charge against Google, this time against its AdSense advertising business."
It accused "Alphabet’s Google of abusing its dominance in search to benefit its own advertising business, which has historically been the company’s main revenue stream." It also reinforced its existing charge against Google’s shopping service, which the regulator said received preferential treatment in search results.
European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said: “Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives. But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate. We have also raised concerns that Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third-party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation.”
The commission said it had sent two “statements of objections” to Google and given its parent company, Alphabet, 10 weeks to respond. Google faces fines up to 10% of its global turnover for each case if found guilty of beaching the bloc’s antitrust rules.
A Google spokesperson said: “We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition. We’ll examine the commission’s renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks.”
The EU’s concerns around Google’s adverts related to the company’s AdSense for Search platform, in which Google act for Search platform, in which Google acted as an intermediary for websites such as those of online retailers, telecoms operators or newspapers, with searches producing results that include search ads.
Google’s AdWords and AdSense programmes, which formed the bulk of Google’s $75bn (£56bn) in revenue in 2015, had been on the European Comissions’s radar since 2010, after rivals complained about unfair advertising exclusivity clauses and undue restrictions on other advertisers.
The EU’s executive branch was already investigating whether Google gives preferential treatment to its own products, including Google Search and Chrome, in its Android operating system, according to the Guardian article. Device manufacturers were obliged to place Google Search and Chrome on the primary home screen of Android devices, as well as other Google apps, if they wanted to provide access to the Google Play Store - the single largest source of third-party Android apps, it stated.
An update on the case on the European Commission website showed that on 20th March 2019 the European Commission had fined Google €1.49 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules.
Google lost half a mark under Anti-Social Finance as a result.