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EU hits Google with €1.49bn fine for 'blocking rival search engines'

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By Euronews
EU hits Google with €1.49bn fine for 'blocking rival search engines'
Copyright  REUTERS/Yves Herman

The European Union's competition regulators have slapped Google with a €1.49 billion fine for allegedly blocking rival online search advertisers.

The search giant "abused its market dominance by imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites," said Margrethe Vestager, who announced the penalty at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites", Vestager, EU commissioner for competition, said. 

Through these abusive practices, she added, Google "denied consumers choice, innovative products and fair prices".

This fine is the third handed down to Google by the EU in two years.

In 2018, the EU competition enforcer imposed a record €4.34 billion fine on Google for using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals. 

This followed a €2.42 billion euro penalty in 2017 for hindering rivals of shopping comparison websites.

Euronews has asked Google to respond to the announcement.