France Has Cracked Down on Google’s Ad Business and America Should Be Taking Notes

In a recent article, Wired outlines how recent rulings from French regulators have had a significant impact on Google’s ad business and what other countries could learn from the rulings.

Wired reports in an article titled “France Cracked Down on Google’s Ad Tech. What’s Next?” that the French Competition Agency (FCA) has hit Google with fines of $855 million in the past year alone, and while such fines are tiny in comparison to Google’s revenue, certain policies and rulings have had a direct effect on Google’s ad business practices.

In June, the FCA hit Google with a $260 million fine after ruling that the company had been using its dominant position in the advertising technology market to outbid rivals and cement its standing in the field. A month later, Google received another fine of $594 million for failing to negotiate copyright changes to its search results with media organizations.

Of course, these fines mean little to Google, which made $61.9 billion in the last quarter alone. But what was surprising about the FCA’s ruling was that Google didn’t even attempt to fight back against it. The company agreed with the facts presented by the FCA and agreed to make significant changes to its operations worldwide.

Wired reports:

In short, Google used its power to give itself an advantage. Under competition laws in Europe, companies that have a dominant market position aren’t allowed to abuse their position. Tech giants are allowed to be big, but they shouldn’t use this power to make themselves stronger at the expense of rivals. Publishers of websites selling their advertising space lost out because of Google’s behavior, the FCA ruled. And Google’s rivals in the advertising technology space also suffered because of Google’s actions.

Google surprisingly isn’t challenging the FCA’s ruling at all and has proposed changes to its advertising technology itself. Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi, a partner in competition law at the French firm Frieh Associés, commented on the situation, stating: “It is the first decision ever in which the tech giants, and Google, in particular, undertake such remedies to settle a case. This is a very important decision. I think it shows that the French competition authority is both very pragmatic and also creative in terms of solutions that can be found to address the issues.” – READ MORE