EU slaps Google with record $2.7 B fine for breaching competition rules :- US Today

EU slaps Google with record $2.7 B fine for breaching competition rules US Today

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Google

(USA Today) — The European Union’s competition watchdog slapped Google with a record-breaking $2.72 billion fine on Tuesday for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.

Regulators said Google “abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service.”

The European Commission said the technology firm “gave prominent placement in its search results only to its own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services. It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets.”

The Commission, which polices EU competition rules, gave the Mountain View, Calif., company 90 days to stop or face fines of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet.

Last year, Alphabet had a turnover of just over $90 billion, meaning the additional daily fine would amount to about $12.3 million per day.

Google has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.  Kent Walker, a senior vice president for the firm, said it would review the Commission’s findings, and may appeal.

“When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both,” he said.

The fine follows a seven-year investigation by EU regulators and is the largest ever handed out by the Commission. European regulators have two other antitrust cases against Google outstanding. One is related to the dominance of its Android mobile operating system and the other concerns its search advertising platform.

In recent years, American technology companies like Google, Apple and Amazon have been ensnared in antitrust, tax and privacy-related investigations by European officials. It represents a stark contrast to the U.S, where these companies are often seen as innovators, job creators and do not attract the same suspicion as they do in Europe.

“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,”
Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, said.


Google fined $2.7B by EU