Google Finds Itself Beneath EU Regulatory Hammer Once More

As calls for the break up of big tech begin to emerge in the 2020 U.S. presidential race, Europe is weighing in on the matter, hitting Google with something harder than rhetoric: dollars.

The search giant has been fined $1.7 billion for violating Europe’s antitrust policies. Specifically, the company stands accused of compelling companies that deploy its search capabilities on their own platforms to display a disproportionately high humber of text ads that will line Google’s pockets.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anticompetitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites,” Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s commissioner for competition, said in a statement. “This is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules.”

While Silicon Valley and the American business community more broadly are known for making light of Europe’s supposedly uptight attitude toward big business practices, times are changing. The rollout of Europe’s major privacy law, GDPR, last year paved the way for similar legislation in California, to go into effect in January 2020, and calls from presidential candidates for more aggressive legislation indicate that more U.S. states, if not the federal government, will be adding to Big Tech’s legal bills in the years to come.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018 and compiled the daily newsletter since 2016. Joe is a journalist who has written widely about technology, business, and politics. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.