The EU is preparing to fine Google over its multi-billion dollar advertising empire as a high-profile investigation into its Android operating system is pushed back to next year.
Europe’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is gearing up to hit the web giant with an antitrust penalty over AdSense, its powerful advertising network, with a decision expected in the next few weeks.
It will be the second fine in less than a year, after Google was ordered to pay €2.4 billion (US$2.1 billion) in June for abusing its internet search monopoly to promote its online shopping service.
The European Commission was expected to fine Google over its Android mobile software this year, but according to Brussels sources the investigation has taken a back seat as EU officials go through extra rounds of due diligence, and is now likely to run into next year.
A fine for abusing the dominance of AdSense, the Google-run network of adverts that appear on other websites, is now likely to come first. The Commission alleges that Google’s contracts with other websites broke competition law by preventing them from using other firms’ advertising networks within those websites’ search results.
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