Google has said it would make changes to its global advertising business to ensure it did not abuse its dominance, bowing to antitrust pressure for the first time in a landmark settlement with French authorities.
The deal with the French competition watchdog could help rebalance the power over advertising in favour of publishers, which held sway over the business in the pre-internet era but lost control with the rapid rise of Google and Facebook.
According to Reuters, the settlement, announced on Monday and included a fine on of 220 million euros ($268 million), was the first time the US tech giant had agreed to make changes to its ads business, which brings in the bulk of its revenue.
“The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it’s the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies,” said France’s antitrust chief Isabelle de Silva.
The French settlement alone may not meaningfully affect industry market share, according to ad-supported media companies and Google’s advertising rivals. But they hope it inspires similar antitrust cases in the United States and other jurisdictions.