Google, the global search engine with nearly $40 billion in revenues (almost entirely from advertising), reportedly applied pressure through the government of France to force a French company to stop pushing out its ad-blocking software.
Business Insider reports that France-based Free Inc. recently developed an ad-blocking tool, which it made available to millions of its subscribers.
"Well, it looks like Google has some pull in France," wrote Tom Taulli on his InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. "Somehow it was able to get the French government to put pressure on Free. And yes, the company agreed to drop its use of ad-blocking software."
The New York Times reports that the French government took Google's side and ordered Free to restore ads. The Times' Eric Pfanner wrote that the government's action is "a potential test case for Europe."
"An Internet service provider cannot unilaterally implement such blocking,” said Fleur Pellerin, the French minister for the digital economy at a news conference Monday after meetings with online publishing and advertising groups, which had complained about a possible loss of revenue.