PARIS: Google said it would make changes to its global advertising business to ensure it did not abuse its dominance, bowing to antitrust pressure for the first time in a landmark settlement with French authorities.
The deal with the French competition watchdog could help rebalance the power over advertising in favour of publishers, which held sway over the business in the pre-internet era but lost control with the rapid rise of Google and Facebook.
The settlement, which was announced on Monday and also saw Google fined 220 million euros ($268 million), is the first time the U.S. tech giant has agreed to make changes to its huge advertising business, which brings in the bulk of its revenue.
"The decision to sanction Google is of particular significance because it's the first decision in the world focusing on the complex algorithmic auction processes on which the online ad business relies," said France's antitrust chief Isabelle de Silva.
The watchdog found that Google's ad management platform for large publishers - Google Ad Manager - favoured the company's own online ad marketplace - Google AdX - where publishers sell space to advertisers in real-time.