Another antitrust fine? EU regulators close to completing investigation of Google’s advertising service
Google could be facing another possible antitrust fine after European officials confirmed they are nearing the completion of their investigation into the firm’s AdSense advertising service.
The confirmation came from Europe’s antitrust chief, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, and stems from European’s objections to the way that Google implements strict contractual terms with its advertising service (Adsense).
It raises the possibility that Google could once again be hit with a financial penalty, after the European Commission in July fined Google a record 4.3 billion euros (£3.83bn) for commercial practices related to its Android mobile operating system, the world’s highest ever antitrust penalty.
Google was also last year fined 2.4bn euros (£2.01bn) after the Commission ruled that Google had thwarted rivals of shopping comparison websites.
The AdSense investigation however began in 2016 when the Commission accused Google of preventing third parties using its AdSense product from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors.
“We are approaching the end of that investigation,” Vestager was quoted by Reuters as telling reporters at the Web Summit in Lisbon when asked for an update on the investigation.
Vestager and her department has the power to fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover for breaching EU rules.
Google is also currently undergoing some internal tensions.
This was evidenced last week when thousands of staff around the world walked out of their offices, in a protest over the handling of sexual harassment claims by senior management.
Google boss Sundar Pichai has previously admitted that the company had fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years.
The admission from Pichai came in response to a New York Times article that alleged that Google had protected three senior executives from allegations of sexual misconduct, which allegedly included the father of Android Andy Rubin.