Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

European Union fines Google record $2.7B in antitrust ruling

European Union fines Google record $2.7B in antitrust ruling

The European Commission notes Google already holds a 90 percent market share in Europe, so the commission says the tech giant is abusing its dominance by promoting its own shopping service.

While announcing yesterday's unprecedented fine, European Commissioner Margarethe Vestager, said the company abused its dominance and actively pushed competitors out in an "illegal" breach of EU antitrust rules. It will probably change the way in which its "Shopping" results are shown, so consumers may find that they have to choose who provides the comparison at the top of a Google search.

The analyst said it was "unclear" how Google would go about eliminating its anti-competitive bias in order to satisfy the EU's demand, but he did come up with a few suggestions.

This fine, Reuters estimates, could translate to about $12 million a day based on Google-parent company Alphabet's turnover of $90.3 billion in 2016. Google has of course been trying to fight this from the beginning, even going as far as to say the EC's investigation fails to take into account how people actually shop online.

In the investigation spanning seven years, Google was accused of manipulating its search engine results to favour its new shopping service at the expense of smaller price-comparison websites. It wasn't just about making its product better than its rivals. We compete with Amazon and other sites for shopping-related searches by showing ever more useful product information.

"We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case", he said. Alphabet Inc's Google has 90 days to "stop its illegal conduct" and give equal treatment to rival price-comparison services, according to a binding European Union order on Tuesday.

"Google's conduct is significantly impacting on competition in the travel vertical, the single largest of the vertical search markets, at the expense of consumers and of Google's competitors..."

Most importantly, she said Google's market strategy for comparison shopping has prevented consumers from access to genuine choices when they shop using its search engine.

Although the $2.7 billion ding is only about a quarter of the company's annual net profits, it's still quite a bit higher than the one most tech observers were expecting to see handed down on this case, suggesting that European Union officials are going hard after the American company.

The Commission found Google hurt European businesses and customers.

Like this: