Thursday, 08 November 2018 07:28

EU says probe into Google's AdSense almost complete Featured

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European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Courtesy European Union

The European Union has almost completed a third inquiry into Google's parent company Alphabet — this time into the company's AdSense advertising business — according to the bloc's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

Vestager hinted on Wednesday that the company could soon be hit with a third hefty fine, Reuters  reported.

Google has already been hit with two massive fines by the EU. In June 2017, Google was fined €2.42 billion (US$2.7 billion) for allegedly abusing its search engine dominance to give illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. The company has appealed against this fine.

And then in July, the EU imposed a fine of €4.34 billion (US$5.05 billion, A$6.82 billion) on Google for allegedly breaching anti-trust rules over its Android mobile operating system.

In October, Google announced that it had also mounted a challenge to the second fine. The outcome of this appeal can again be contested, but only on points of law, in Europe's top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Vestager made her comments on Wednesday at the Web Summit in Lisbon when asked for the latest on the probe.

Companies that breach EU rules can be fined up to 10% of their global turnover by Vestager.

The EU has also proposed that big technology companies be taxed on their revenue, and not profit, but that proposal has been opposed by some countries.

In the meantime, Australia's Treasury has made a similar proposal, which is yet to be considered by the Federal Government.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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