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The Los Angeles Times reports that European Union antitrust regulators have fined Google $1.7 billion for “thwarting advertising rivals.”

According to the story, “Wednesday’s fine stemmed from Google’s role as an ad broker for websites, targeting exclusivity agreements for online ads with its AdSense for Search product. That service places text advertising on websites … For instance, the commission found that Google restricted third parties from displaying advertisers from rival services altogether in some cases. Other times, third parties were required to reserve a premium spot for Google advertisers as well as allow the company to alter the way that rivals' advertisements were displayed.”

These demands apparently were dropped in 2016, when the Eu began its probe.

Google has been fined on antitrust grounds three times by the EU over the past decade, for a total of $9.4 billion.
KC's View:
The Times notes in its story that beyond the size of the check Google has to write, this fine comes at a “politically sensitive time” for the company, since it is one of the tech giants that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has proposed breaking up as part of her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Even if that proposal is not realized - and I have my doubts about its wisdom and practicality - it does seem likely that companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are likely to face a lot closer legislative scrutiny in coming months.