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Google agrees to change its ad practices after France's antitrust watchdog fined the tech giant $267 million

Published by Business Insider on Mon, 07 Jun 2021


<p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/602146a4cca90200129b6f28-2400/2018-12-11T172550Z1381684728RC11B4415BF0RTRMADP3GOOGLE-CONGRESS.JPG" border="0" alt="Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing " data-mce-source="REUTERS/Jim Young" data-mce-caption="Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing examining the company's data collection, use, and filtering practices on Capitol Hill in December 2018."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Alphabet's Google has agreed to make changes to some of its widely-used online advertising services as part of an unprecedented settlement with France's antitrust watchdog.</p><p>The California-based tech giant was also fined 220 million ($267.48 million) by the authority in the agreement that was revealed on Monday. The probe found&nbsp;Google had abused its market power in the intricate ad business online, where some of its tools have become almost essential for large publishers.</p><p>The watchdog's decision is an attempt to rebalance the power struggle over online ads in favour of publishers, which held sway in the business in the pre-internet era, but lost considerable ground with the rise of <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/g7-leaders-strike-deal-on-taxing-amazon-facebook-google-2021-6">Google&nbsp;and Facebook</a>.</p><p>The French Competition Authority (FCA) said the decision opens the way for publishers who felt disadvantaged to seek damages from <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-cloud-salaries-compensation-revealed-2021-5">Google</a>. Many publishers globally have expressed <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-monopoly-investigation-germany-eu-data-collection-2021-5">unhappiness over ad practices</a> employed by the tech giants.</p><p>"The decision to sanction <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/unredacted-google-lawsuit-docs-detail-efforts-to-collect-user-location-2021-5">Google</a> 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.</p><p>De Silva said the fine was reduced because of the settlement, but she did not give specifics.</p><p>A Google spokesperson didn't immediately reply to a request seeking comment. The watchdog said <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-employees-harassment-claim-work-from-home-2021-5">Google</a> will not seek to appeal the authority's decision in court.</p><p>The FCA's investigation focused on the tools Google offers publishers online to sell and manage online ads.</p><p>The settlement with&nbsp;Google&nbsp;shows the firm is ready bend to antitrust pressure and make operational changes to some of its most popular ad business tools, whose success relies on the trove of data it has amassed over the years.</p><p>The watchdog found that&nbsp;Google&nbsp;Ad Manager, the firm's ad management platform for large publishers favoured AdX, its own online ad marketplace, where publishers sell space to advertisers in real-time. It did so notably by providing AdX strategic data such as the winning bidding prices.</p><p>The watchdog also said&nbsp;Google&nbsp;AdX offered&nbsp;Google&nbsp;Ad Manager superior interoperability features than for rival so-called sell-side platforms (SSP), the crucial technology that allows publishers to manage advertising spaces available for purchase, fill them with ads and receive revenue.</p><p>Under the terms of the settlement,&nbsp;Google&nbsp;offered commitments to improve the interoperability of&nbsp;Google&nbsp;Ad Manager services with third-party ad server and ad space sales platform, the watchdog said.</p><p>The watchdog said it had accepted these commitments and that they were binding in its decision. The case follows a complaint by News Corp, French news publishing group Le Figaro, and Belgian press group Rossel.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-changes-ad-services-france-antitrust-watchdog-fine-267-million-2021-6#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/mount-everest-death-zone-first-hand-account-2017-9">What it's like in the death zone of Everest, K2, and other mountains</a></p>
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