March 20, 2019

BOOM: Google Fined $1.7 Billion by E.U. for Unfair Advertising Rules.

The fine, worth about $1.7 billion, is the third against Google by the European Union since 2017, reinforcing the region’s position as the world’s most aggressive watchdog of an industry with an increasingly powerful role in society and the global economy. The regulators said Google had violated antitrust rules by imposing unfair terms on companies that used its search bar on their websites in Europe.

Europe’s regulatory approach was once criticized as unfairly targeting technology companies from the United States, but is now viewed as a potential global model as governments question the influence of Silicon Valley. Europe is at the forefront of a broad debate about the role of tech platforms like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, and whether their size and power hurts competition.

I’m still not convinced these EU fines are anything more, really, than enhanced tax collection, and I’m also not convinced that, as much money as Google makes, that even a fine this large is meaningful.

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