Google has been fined US$2.4billion by Brussels for abusing its market dominance as a search engine, through promoting its own shopping service at the top of search results. Due to the USA tech giant's dominance in online search, the commission found that the way Google favoured sponsored results from it own Shopping service provided the firm with an unfair advantage over alternative price comparison and shopping websites.
The European Union competition watchdog has just fined google a record breaking €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion) for "illegally" promoting its Google Shopping results to feature more prominently above similar comparison results from rivals. She goes on to suggest that the most important thing is that Google 'denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation, ' Margarethe Vestager concludes.
The result of Google's search practices, according to the EC's investigation, led Google's comparison shopping service receiving significant hikes in traffic i the UK, Germany, France and Spain and other major European Union nations, while traffic to rival services dropped significantly, essentially allowing Google to create a from of monopoly for itself.
The fine follows a seven-year investigation by the EC after it received dozens of complaints from competitors claiming that Google abused its position as the world leader in search market. If Google fails to comply with the Commission's order it could face daily fines of up to 12.5 million (EUR) a day which represents 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of its parent company Alphabet.
This fine on Google is the largest antitrust judgement handed out by the executive body of the EU, the European Commission, and beats a 1 billion Euros penalty given to Intel in 2009. He added that the tech giant would review the case and consider whether or not to appeal.
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Senior Vice President Kent Walker argues that users favoured Google's results because they were quicker and easier to manage.
As it "respectfully" disagrees with the EU's conclusions, Google will be considering an appeal and will continue to make its case.
The EU has also charged Google of crushing its rivals using its Android mobile operating system and of blocking its rivals in online search advertising. It also said Google "has weakened or even marginalized competition from its closest rivals".
The action came after a seven-year long investigation prompted by scores of complaints from rivals such as USA consumer review website Yelp, TripAdvisor, UK price comparison site Foundem, News Corp and lobbying group FairSearch.