Google Hit with Record $2.7 Billion Fine in EU Antitrust Ruling
Following a seven-year investigation, EU antitrust regulators have hit Google with an astounding $2.42 billion euro ($2.7 billion US) fine for systematically favoring its own shopping search service over competitors. The European Commission gave Google 90 days to stop its activities or face more penalties of up to 5% of Google’s average daily turnover.
“Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing,” said European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, “but Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals.”
She continued: “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. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
Rumors began circulating yesterday that Google’s fine would be significant, but most estimates were much lower. The latest ruling is a clear indication that Europe will continue to act aggressively towards what it views as online monopolies that violate antitrust laws.