France cracked down on Google’s advertising technology. What’s the next step?


June 7, The little-known French regulator Isabelle de Silva (Isabelle de Silva) made global headlines.De Silva said this was the most complicated investigation she had ever participated in. After a arduous investigation, the French Competition Agency (FCA) found Google Fines of 260 million U.S. dollars. De Silva ruled that Google has been using its already dominant advertising technology to further consolidate its position and beat competitors in bids.

But De Silva is not finished yet. A month later, in another case, she fined Google again. This time, Google failed to negotiate with media organizations on the copyright changes of its search results. Google’s punishment? The fine was US$594 million.

This payment is a small change for Google and its parent company Alphabet. There was $61.9 billion in the last quarter alone. But the FCA’s ruling on Google’s advertising technology made headlines for another reason: Google did not fight it. The company agreed with all the facts in the FCA case and agreed to make major changes to its operations. These changes will not only happen in France, but also in the world.

In a verdict, the regulator, called Autorité de la Concurrence in French, successfully reshaped the way Google advertising technology works. The ruling revolves around technology in Google Ad Manager, a platform that helps companies buy and sell ads displayed on billions of web pages. FCA pays special attention to two elements of the Ad Manager system: the DFP ad management system ad server and the sales platform called SSP AdX. The first allows website owners to sell ads around the content they publish, while the latter participates in controlling the complex, instantaneous auction process.

“Google ensures that ad servers are biased towards platforms that sell ad space,” De Silva said. In addition, she explained that Google is using its knowledge of what’s happening on other advertising platforms to gain an advantage by lowering its own pricing. “We can show in detail that Google not only has information that no one else does, because it has specific [dominant] Location, but they effectively use this information to have a better chance of winning bids,” De Silva said.

In short, Google used its power to give itself an advantage. According to European competition law, a company with a dominant market position cannot abuse its position. Tech giants can be bigger, but they should not use this power to make themselves stronger at the expense of competitors. The FCA ruled that the publisher of the website that sold its advertising space suffered losses due to Google’s actions. Google’s competitors in the field of advertising technology have also been affected by Google’s actions.

Previously, three investigations by the European Commission imposed fines of more than $9.7 billion on Google for anti-competitive behavior, and the company is challenging these penalties in court. But in this case, Google did not challenge the FCA’s ruling. In fact, it did not dispute the FCA’s findings, but proposed changes to its advertising technology itself. (It also made some changes to the European Commission’s case.)

Fayrouze Masmi-Dazi, a competition law partner at the French company Frieh Associés, said: “This is the first time that a technology giant, especially Google, has taken such remedial measures to resolve the case.” Google case. “This is a very important decision. I think it shows that the French competition authority is very pragmatic and creative in solving problems.”

“This decision is completely transparent,” said Antoine Riquier, a commercial litigation lawyer at the law firm Hausfeld.This 101 page FCA ruling There are diagrams explaining how ad technology bids and servers work. “You have a lot of details, but at the same time it’s not very technical. The French competition authority has done a lot of work in this area.”


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