EU slaps Google with Record $3.57 Billion Fine Over Anti-Trust Violation
Google has been slammed with a record breaking €2.42 billion by the European Union in what is described as a violation of anti-trust rules in its shopping services.
The European Commission which governs the competition rule policies have fined Google on the grounds of allegedly using their position to elevate its personal Google Shopping service over outside services.
The Commission revealed that Google had “leveraged their market dominance to illegally give preference to other Google products above rival services”.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has explained Google’s actions as an offence under EU antitrust rules. Amongst a variety of quotes, it was clear that the main point of the fine was regarding Google controlling the dominance of their advertisement and services above others.
Vestager commented that Google had “denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits, and denied European consumers a genuine choice of services”.
It was also mentioned that the investigation started several years ago, and drew information from roughly 1.7 billion search queries. It was found that Google Shopping was returned as one of the highest ranked result, with rival pages usually found on page four of results, leading to less site traffic.
As part of the move, the Californian search engine giant were given 90 days to stop conduct, or face further fines which is a 5% calculation of average daily turnover for Alphabet, the parent company.
Google To Fight Back?
In response to the fine, which is the largest anti-trust fine imposed by the EU since 2009, Google maintained it was packaging search results in customers favour, displaying products that were suited to their search. It stands by its data, which apparently shows that searchers preferred direct links to products instead of websites in which they would repeat the search.
It is unclear at this point how Google will respond to the fine, simply stating that they will review the decision delivered by the EU Commission and consider appeal. It remains unlikely that the fine will be detrimental to Google, impacting its reputation more than its wallet.
Decision May Be Game Changing
The EU Consumer Organisation, who were also involved in the case, has commented that the decision may set precedence for future cases of anti-trust violations. More than that, it could also be a reflection for other Google services, such as images, news, travel, which have all received complaints from rival companies on similar grounds.