The European Union (EU) has filed additional antitrust charges against Google. Previously, the European Commission (EC)has investigated Google over other antitrust concerns related to search and the Android operating system. The latest charges allege that Google unfairly prioritizes its own shopping service in search results and that its AdSense service harms competition.
For Web developers, the AdSense charges are the most significant because they relate to contracts for Google ads that appear on third-party website. The EU’s “preliminary view [is] that for the last ten years, those contracts have restricted third-party Websites’ ability to get search advertisements from Google’s competitors,” Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust chief, wrote. “Some of those contracts included exclusivity clauses, which stopped third-party Websites [from] getting advertisements from other providers.” She added, “We believe that these restrictions allowed Google to protect its very high market shares for search advertising. They hindered competition and they stifled choice and innovation, to the detriment of consumers.”