EU imposes €2.42bn fine on Google
The European Union has fined Google a staggering €2.42bn over breaches of antitrust rules.
The ground-breaking ruling comes after a seven year competition probe of the company. According to the European commission the company is guilty of abusing its near-monopoly in search results by promoting its own shopping comparison services, over its competitors.
The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said: “It has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation."
The ruling orders Google to stop its illegal behaviour within 90 days or face a further penalty, which could be anywhere up to 5% of its parent company Alphabet's average daily worldwide earnings.
Vestager added: “Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors. What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”
Google has already expressed its disappointment and its intention to appeal this decision.
Kent Walker, Google senior vice president and general counsel, said: “When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both. We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”