French competition watchdog hits Google with 250 million euro fine

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 2:32 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s competition watchdog on Wednesday said it fined Google 250 million euros ($271.73 million) for breaches linked to EU intellectual property rules in its relationship with media publishers.

Google has pledged not to contest the facts as part of settlement proceedings, the watchdog said, adding the company also proposed a series of remedy measures to certain shortcomings.

The fine is linked to a copyright dispute in France over online content in a case triggered by complaints from some of France’s biggest news organisations, including Agence France Presse (AFP)>

The dispute seemed resolved in 2022 when the U.S. tech giant dropped its appeal against an initial 500 million euro fine issued at the end of a major investigation carried out by the Autorite de la Concurrence.

In Wednesday’s statement, the watchdog said Google violated the terms of four out of seven commitments agreed in the settlement agreement, including conducting negotiations with publishers in good faith and providing transparent information.

Google could not immediately be reached for comment.

($1 = 0.9200 euros)

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)