Google was fined $1.7 billion US dollars in the EU for antitrust actions. Actions which taken in whole got them a large chunk of the $31 billion in profits they had last year.
So yeah… that 4% is really going to dissuade alphabet from doing what they’re doing. Totally.
The NY Times has a nice write up on this, and we’ve got some commentary emailed to us by Jonathan Compton, Partner at the law firm of DHM Stallard. (Essentially a press release.)
TL;DR version of the below – Google “yeah, that 4%’s going to really hurt, can you pass me that third bar of gold over there?“
“The truth is that many regard Google and Facebook as out of control. The deeper problem is what to do about it. Whilst increasing numbers of commentators, lawyers and regulators regard the social platform giants as too big to control. Even if you make the decision to regulate the big platforms, and that is an issue in itself involving freedom of expression, how can those platforms regulate their content when they have two billion or so users?
“What results from this quandary is that Google and Facebook continue to attract larger and larger fines for their breaches of Data Protection and Competition/ Anti Trust laws. EU fines against Google of Euro 4.3bn and Euro 2.4bn for anti-competitive practices in 2017 have done nothing to stop it from continuing to engage in anti-competitive practices.
“Today, the EU has announced a fine against Google for breaching EU Competition law again. The Commission held that Google held a dominant position in the market place and had abused this position by imposing restrictions on advertising by competitors for the 10 years between 2006 and 2016. This is basic stuff, frankly, and this writer is surprised that Google, which can afford the best and the brightest, engaged in this type of “rule 1 – do not break” behaviour.
“But the problem is that whilst the EU can impose massive fines, Alphabet Inc (the owners of Google) made pre tax profits of nearly £31bn USD last year, nearly 20bn more than it made in 2017. If fines of €4.34bn and €2.42bn in one year do nothing to dissuade Google from doing this type of thing, what will?.”