Google's decade-long antitrust battle in Europe

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google was hit with a 1.49-billion-euro ($1.7 billion) fine on Wednesday, the third antitrust sanction from the European Union in two years after a record-breaking 4.34 billion euro penalty last year and a 2.4-billion-euro sanction in 2017 over its anti-competitive practices.

Google's decade-long antitrust battle in Europe

FILE PHOTO: Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Philipp Justus, Google Vice President for Central Europe and the German-speaking Countries, stay at a Google logo during the opening of the new Alphabet’s Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The European Commission said Google, a division of Alphabet, had prevented third parties using its AdSense advertising service from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors.

** Below is a timeline of Google’s antitrust cases in Europe:

** March 20 2019 – EU antitrust enforcers slap a 1.49 billion-euro ($1.7 billion) fine on Google because it hindered rivals in online search advertising for a decade.

** July 18 2018 – EU antitrust regulators hand down a record 4.34 billion euro fine to Google over its Android mobile operating system after a three-year long investigation.

** June 27 2017 – EU fines Google 2.4 billion euros for thwarting rivals of shopping comparison websites.

** July 14 2016 – EU sets out another charge against Google’s shopping service. It also accuses the company of preventing third parties using its AdSense product from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors – a third case against the company.

** April 20 April 2016 – EU sends a charge sheet to Google outlining the company’s anti-competitive practices with regard to Android smartphone makers and apps makers.

** April 15 2015 – EU opens investigation into Google’s Android smartphone operating system.

** April 15 2015 – EU charges Google with blocking competitors of its price comparison shopping service.

** Sept 2014 – Joaquin Almunia, European Competition Commissioner at that time, says he will not be able to wrap up the Google case before his mandate ends in October.

** May 2014 – Almunia says feedback from complainants will be crucial to determining whether he accepts Google’s concessions.

** Feb 5 2014 – Google improves its concessions related to online search.

** 2013 – Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint about Google’s Android business practices to the European Commission.

** April 25 2013 – EU seeks feedback from rivals and users to Google’s concessions.

** April 3 2013 – Google offers concessions related to online search and its AdSense advertising network to address EU competition concerns, without admitting wrongdoing.

** Nov 30 2010 – European Commission opens investigation into allegations that Google has abused its dominant position in online searches following 18 complaints.

** 2010 – Microsoft complains about Google’s practices related to its AdSense advertising service.

** Nov 3 2009 – British price comparison site Foundem complains about Google’s online search to the European Commission.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Jane Merriman