Google was fined 220 million euros ($268 million) by France’s antitrust watchdog. The complaint for abusing of its ‘dominant’ position in online advertising was filed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., French newspaper group Le Figaro and Belgium-based Rossel La Voix. Le Figaro later withdrew its complaint. Google’s advertising practices have harmed its competitors along with publishers of mobile websites and applications, the French Competition Authority said Monday. Google has been facing pressure from authorities to pay for news and signed a deal earlier this year with a group of French publishers that paves the way for it to make digital copyright payments. Google France’s legal director, Maria Gomri, said in a blog post Monday that Google has been collaborating for the past two years with the French watchdog on issues related to ad technology.
Google did not dispute the facts and opted to settle after proposing some changes. There is a hope that Google’s commitment to changing its practices, “will make it possible to re-establish a level playing field for all players, and the ability for publishers to make the most of their advertising space,” Isabelle de Silva – the head of the French Competition Authority – said Monday. Changes will be deployed more broadly, some of them globally, Google France’s legal director, Maria Gomri, declared Monday. Germany was the latest country to launch an investigation of Google, in Europe. In many parts of the world, including in the U.S., authorities brought antitrust lawsuits against Google last year. They want to prove that Google has been methodically abusing its power as the internet’s main gateway.