Bloomberg reports that Google will be fined 500 million euros by French regulators for failing to comply with an antitrust order of the previous regulator on the press and publishing industry.
French regulators previously required Google not to use its platform’s monopoly position, but to compete fairly with news publishers.
The chairman of the French regulatory agency said that the 500 million euro penalty took into account the extraordinary severity of Google’s violations and Google’s disregard for regulatory orders.
The confrontation between Google and the traditional news publishing industry in Europe has been going on for a long time. For more than a decade, European news publishers have been pushing regulators to solve Google’s unfair competition. Now, it seems the French regulators are more serious and are going to solve this problem. By the way, this is the second largest antitrust fine imposed on a single company in French history.
Google spokesman said they are “very disappointed” for the decision and the company had negotiated in good faith involved in the whole process. Google also added that the company is about to reach an agreement with Agence France-Presse. It includes a global license agreement. In addition, Google can appeal this fine.
Global Publishing Industry Against Tech Giants
However, France isn’t alone in this battle. Australia as well is trying to hold tech giants to account over their use of news. Earlier this year, Australia required digital giants including Facebook and Google to pay local publishers for news. The latter has been increasingly paying publishers but on its own terms. Say, it paid a $1 billion Google News Showcase to point readers to news content.
Generally talking, Google is facing a serious opposition from regulators across the world. They are trying to bring tech giants to the frame of rules that are general for all players.
“The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed,” said Isabelle de Silva, president of the French agency.
Much earlier, Google reached an agreement with French newspapers — Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale. We also heard that Google is in talks with magazine owners and AFP.
But de Silva informed that regulators dismissed the remuneration offered by Google as “negligible”. It turned out Google was offering to pay the same amount for press content as it did for dictionary listings or weather information.