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Google hit with €1.5bn fine from EU over advertising

Google has been hit with a €1.49bn (£1.28bn) fine from the EU for blocking rival online search advertisers.

It is the third EU fine for the search and advertising giant in two years.

The case accuses Google of abusing its market dominance by restricting third-party rivals from displaying search ads between 2006 and 2016.

In response, Google changed its AdSense contracts with large third parties, giving them more leeway to display competing search ads.

Google owner Alphabet makes large amounts of money from advertising - (£23bn) in 2018, up from $12.66bn in 2017.

"Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites.

"This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules," said EC commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Google's global affairs head, Kent Walker, said: "We've always agreed that healthy, thriving markets are in everyone's interest.

"We've already made a wide range of changes to our products to address the Commission's concerns.

"Over the next few months, we'll be making further updates to give more visibility to rivals in Europe."

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