The Google rules are “opaque and difficult to understand,” France’s Competition Authority said in a statement on Friday, adding that the fined company should make them clear and also establish a straightforward procedure for suspending Google Ads accounts.
Isabelle de Silva, who heads the French watchdog, said Google’s share of the online advertising market was at around 90 percent, giving it an extraordinary amount of leverage.
“It is perfectly legitimate for an operator like Google to have rules” for its advertising service, she said. “But these rules must be clear” and not applied “erratically” as Google did, she added.
The company said it plans to appeal the decision.
The move is the latest in a line of blows delivered by the French authorities in 2019 to major American companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. The biggest was the introduction of a new profit tax in July, a measure designed to make international companies pay their due instead of funneling revenues from their French business to tax havens.
Earlier this month, Washington threatened to sanction $2.4bn worth of French products with tariffs in retaliation for the taxation change.
In September, Google agreed to pay almost €1mn in fines and back taxes to settle years-long tax disputes.
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