Strike Three: Another Infringement From Google in the AdSense Case

April 01, 2019

On 20 March 2019 the European Commission (Commission) announced its decision in the AdSense case, imposing a fine of €1.49bn and requiring Google to cease its infringing practices. The Commission faulted Google for imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented rivals from placing search adverts on these sites. The rationale behind these restrictive clauses was to cement Google’s dominance in the online search advertising intermediation market.


This was the third largest Commission fine ever in Article 102 proceedings; smaller only than the record fines on Google in the Shopping and Android investigations. Unlike in those cases, in AdSense the abusive conduct had already terminated (in 2016) so that there was less potential for controversy as to Google’s compliance. Google has appealed against both the Shopping and the Android decisions and has announced its intention to do so with respect to AdSense too.


Marjolein De Backer reflects on the challenges that Google faces and enforcement trends in the online advertising market.   

Read the full article published by Competition Law Insight here.