Explained: The antitrust lawsuit in France and how Google plans to settle it

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Google has offered to remove the offending technical obstacles for competitors. Even if the matter is settled, Google is still likely to pay a fine for its practices till now.

Explained: The antitrust lawsuit in France and how Google plans to settle it

The US technology giant Google is about to settle an antitrust lawsuit against it in France linked to alleged unfair manipulation of online advertising.

The company will make operational changes to comply with prevailing laws in France and is likely to pay a fine to settle the matter in court, reported the Wall Street Journal.

 What is the lawsuit about?

The French national regulator for the competition said the tech platform’s tool for helping websites and mobile applications to sell advertisement spots gave Google’s own advertisement auction system an unfair advantage over those of its rivals.

France had recently imposed a fine of 100 million Euros on Google for breaching rules related to online advertising trackers (cookies). Online retail giant Amazon was fined 35 million euros in the same incident in December 2020.

What is Google’s response?

According to the WSJ report, Google has offered to remove the offending technical obstacles for competitors. Even if the matter is settled, Google is still likely to pay a fine for its practices till now. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, filed record profits for last year mostly on the back of its surging advertisement sales.

Google did not comment on the reported settlement but said that the company’s products work equally for competitors and partners. Google spokeswoman Leslie Pitterson said, “We continue to take in feedback and make updates to better serve users and the wider ecosystem.”

Pressure on tech giants

Google, one of the biggest technology companies in the world, has been facing increasing regulatory pressure from authorities in several countries. Pressure on tech giants has been increasing especially in investigations of the business practices of such large companies that give them an unfair advantage over their competitors or the market.

Google is facing similar lawsuits to the French one in Texas and a class-action lawsuit over gender-based wage disparity in California in the United States.

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