The European Commission has fined Google 2.42bn euros after it was established that the company had misused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison services at the top of search results.
Google Hit with £2.1bn EU Fine for Anti-Competitive Practice
The fine imposed by the European Commission on Google is the largest so far against a firm accused of distorting the market.
According to the ruling, Google is required to halt its competitive practices within 90 minutes days or else the company will be penalized further.
Following this announcement Google said it would appeal.
Even then, if the company does not change its Shopping service operations in three months, it would have to pay up to 5% of the average daily worldwide earnings generated by parent company Alphabet, which would amount to $14m daily.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner said, “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”
She added, “The company has denied other firms the opportunity to compete on merit and to innovate, and most importantly it denied consumers in Europe to benefit from genuine choice, competition and innovation.”
Ms. Vestager also pointed out that this decision could set precedent that determines how the commission handles complaints about the dominance of Google maps, results of its flight prices as well as local business listings on its search tools.
Previously, Google suggested that eBay and Amazon have more influence over people’s spending habits.
In a statement, a spokesman said in response to the ruling, “When you shop online, you are looking to find products quickly and easily.”
“Advertisers are looking to promote these same products and this is why Google shows shopping ads to connect our customers with thousands of advertisers in ways that are valuable to both.”
“We respectfully disagree with the conclusion that has been announced today and we will review the decision of the Commission as we consider an appeal.”
Google Shopping works by displaying images and prices of relevant products alongside the names of shops selling these products.
This information is labeled as being “sponsored’’ to indicate the fact that unlike regular searches, these ads only include items that sellers have paid to show up on the search engines.
When viewed on smartphones, the Shopping feature can be viewed above the fold so users may be unable to see regular links unless they scroll down.
Google Shopping has been under the European Commission’s investigation since 2010. This was triggered by complaints from other tech companies including Microsoft.