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 relate to the company’s AdSense for Search platform, in which Google act for Search platform, in which Google acts 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 EC’s radar since 2010, after rivals complained about unfair advertising exclusivity clauses and undue restrictions on other advertisers.
The EU’s executive branch is already investigating whether Google gives preferential treatment to its own products, including Google Search and Chrome, in its Android operating system. Device manufacturers are obliged to place Google Search and Chrome on the primary home screen of Android devices, as well as other Google apps, if they want to provide access to the Google Play Store - the single largest source of third-party Android apps.
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. A press release dated 22nd June 2021, showed that the European Commission had opened a new investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google in the online advertising technology sector
According to an article in the Washington Post titled 'Europe fined Google nearly $10 billion for antitrust violations, but little has changed' and dated 10th November 2020, the European Union had spent a decade pursuing Google on various antitrust charges, "ultimately fining the company nearly $10 billion for using illegal tactics to abuse its dominant position on the market". The article noted that Google continued to "dominate more than 90 percent of Europe’s search-engine market, just as it did before the E.U. probes began in 2010". It also reported that the US Justice Department had filed its own antitrust case against Google in October 2020.
Google lost half a mark under Anti-Social Finance as a result.