On March 20, 2019, EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a press conference that Google’s use of the dominant position of search services forced its online advertising AdSense customers to sign exclusive agreements to block the content of competitor platforms. Google’s monopoly has been going on for more than a decade.
The fine of up to 1.5 billion euros is the third time the EU has imposed a penalty against Google in recent years, ending Google’s latest antitrust investigation in Europe. In 2018, Google was fined €4.3 billion for the dominant position of the Abuse Action Platform, and in 2017 it was fined €2.4 billion for handling shopping-related search results. At the end of the latest investigation, Google received more than 8.2 billion euros in fines for antitrust investigations. The fine was lower than the previous two years, mainly because Google communicated with the European Commission on AdSense’s service policy in 2016 and announced the way to adjust the advertising business.
The investigation of the EU anti-monopoly regulator can be traced back to 2006. Google began to sell AdSense search advertising services to customers. After the customer delivers the advertisement, the relevant content can appear on the user’s search results page, but when the user clicks on the advertisement content, Google will Advertising costs are distributed.
However, Google’s partnership agreement in AdSense lists exclusive terms prohibiting customers from adding ads to competitors’ platforms. In 2009, Google adjusted the exclusion terms, and Google cancelled the terms after the European Commission began investigations in 2016.
Kent Walker, vice president of global affairs at Google, said that Google believes that a healthy and thriving market is in everyone’s interest. The advertising products have been heavily adjusted to address the concerns of antitrust agencies, and Google will make further adjustments in the coming months. To help competitors develop.
Google’s statement will work with regulators to actively adjust the product. It also shows that AdSense’s importance to Google is declining and advertising revenue is stable, but it is not Google’s most important revenue source. In 2015, AdSense contributed 20% of revenue to Google, and revenues have declined year after year.