Google’s PR team was sent scrambling to make its position clear ahead of an expensive ruling in Europe.
On Wednesday, the European Union delivered a $1.69 billion antitrust fine against Google—the third fine that the tech giant has received for interfering with competition.
The latest fine takes the total the company has been fined by the EU competition commission to €8.24bn over the past two years, for abusing its power in markets, ranging from shopping search to mobile phone operating systems.
In 2006, Google added exclusivity clauses to ad contracts with websites and advertisers. “This meant that publishers were prohibited from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages,” the Commission said. Google changed those rules slightly in 2009, but retained approval over publisher’s ads on competing search engines.