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European Commission Fines Google €1.49 Billion
The European Commission (EC) has fined Google €1.49 billion for violating European Union antitrust rules. In particular, the EC says that Google abused its market dominance by preventing companies that used Google’s search engine for their internal site search from displaying ads from rival ad networks run by competitors like Microsoft and Yahoo. Google eventually relaxed that requirement, but still insisted on the most prominent ad placements, and the company ceased the practice altogether after the EC objected in July 2016. While €1.49 billion seems like a large fine, it’s significantly smaller than the EC’s July 2018 fine of €4.34 billion for Google’s Android practices and its June 2017 fine of €2.42 billion for Google giving an illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. The EC’s penalties aren’t insignificant, but they’re also a small fraction of what Google makes in a year—the company brought in $136.8 billion in revenue in 2018—putting them well within what Google could consider the cost of doing business.
And Google’s stock went up, probably due to confirmation of the amount of the fine, so it was no longer an unknown.
At least these fines have been in the billions—you see announcements of one of these companies getting fined a few million and you know it’s chump change to them. Seems like we need a different method of punishing bad behavior.
Yes, the thought occurred to me during the whole Christchurch shooting when the footage was being streamed and Facebook removed over 1.5M uploads over the course of the day, what if, just what if… they had to shut down until they cleared it or set up some effective filtration that would cope with any attempt to upload it.
I like that idea, Tommy.
These companies have created a situation they cannot manage. And when push come to shove we accept excuses like “it’s difficult” or “it’s expensive”. When actually, we could chose to just respond that since they created the mess they were expected to clean it up. And if they can’t or aren’t willing, well then it’s over for them. I’m pretty sure that would unleash previously never seen levels action. Much more so than a couple $1B fines (what is that, 20% of quarterly earnings?).
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