European Union fines Google record $2.7b

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 29, 2017

The commission has given Google 90 days to end its anti-competitive behaviour, which the regulator claims breaches European Union antitrust rules, or else face further fines worth five per cent of parent company Alphabet's daily worldwide earnings for every day after the three-month deadline.

The European Commission, which enforces competition rules, on Tuesday slapped Alphabet with a $2.7 billion fine, saying the company skewed search results to benefit its own shopping search service vs. those of rivals.

Google argued its data showed people preferred links taking them directly to products they want and not to websites where they have to repeat their search. "We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case", Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, said in a statement. According to Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner, Google did something illegal by abusing its market dominance as the most popular search engine.

As a result of the ruling, Google will now be forced to give equal treatment to its rivals as well as its own comparison shopping service within its search results.

The EU is calling on Google to "end the conduct" within 90 days or risk "penalty payments of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company", the commission says. These results appear above "organic" results, and while they are marked as "Sponsored", they come with no other indication that they are exclusively paid-for listings, meaning it's possible for users to be mislead into thinking that Google Shopping results offer a true price comparison service, rather than simply listing products from retailers willing to pay for inclusion. The service, launched in 2008 in European markets, relied on Google's dominance in the Internet search market to make up for its weakness among competing comparison shopping services.

"When you shop online, you want to find the products you are looking for quickly and easily".

A Google spokesman said: 'We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today.

The EU fine is also supported by United States companies such as Oracle, who previously accused the search giant of "stifling innovation".

As just a handful of largely American companies have become global tech monopolies, regulators in the U.S. have done little to deter anticompetitive practices. The EU commission basically crunched some numbers based on what Google earned from the 13 economic areas of the union.

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