The Competition Authority ended 2021 with 30 controversial decisions for anti-competitive practices and counter-fines amounting to €873.7 million.
According to its annual report, Google was subject to sanctions worth up to 720 million euros in a year. This is the largest fine imposed by the French regulator last year on the company. The Mountain View firm has been at the center of two major related rights and online advertising investigations.
Two fines for Google
The related rights dispute ended in June 2022 after two years of litigation. In April 2020, for the first time, the Antitrust Authority ordered Google to negotiate in good faith with online press publishers for a reward for restoring their content.
But a year later, the FDA fined Google 500 million euros for failing to comply with previous injunctions. The regulator eventually accepted Google’s commitment last June.
The second fine for the tech giant is 220 million euros. It imposes sanctions on Google’s position in the French online advertising market. The Autorité de la concurrence felt that Google had abused its dominant position in the ad server market for website and mobile app publishers.
Digital under close supervision
Whether in terms of merger control or litigation, the Autorité de la concurrence is seeing “an increase in cases involving new technologies, online services or practices coming from large digital companies,” points out Benoît Queré, president of the Competition Authority. , in the report. Thus, in 2021, the institution intervened three times in the telecommunications sector and seven times in the media and digital sphere, making them the most controlled sectors.
Digital will continue to be under close scrutiny this year, the Competition Authority promises in its 2022-2023 roadmap. To respond more quickly to these topics, the institution created a dedicated department in 2020, made up of engineers, data scientists, and lawyers. “If necessary, this team will be strengthened, but we must also increase our collective effectiveness,” commented Benoît Queré.
At the time the roadmap is released, Autorité reminds that an industry investigation into cloud computing is still ongoing. Its findings are expected in early 2023. The French institution also indicated that, together with the European Commission, it will prepare the entry into force of the Digital Markets Law, which should take place in a few months in order to “take full advantage of it”. new possibilities offered by this text in addition to its controversial action and control of concentrations.