Google slammed with record antitrust fine of $2.7 billion

Google fine

Search engine giant Google has been fined a monumental $2.7 billion USD by the European Commission for – according to the European Commission – abusing its dominant position in the search market and favouring its own comparison shopping service over other providers.

According to a report via Telecompaper, the Commission had begun investigating Google in 2010, and in 2015 brought formal charges against Google for violating EU competition law; however, the US-based company has repeatedly denied the charges, saying it faces a growing number of competitors in comparison shopping… This is according to the report.

As per the report, the EU fine is based on violations in 13 countries, going back to 2008 when Google first began to promote its shopping service in the UK as well as Germany.

As stated by the report, Google has been told that it must end the offending practices within 90 days or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

The report further revealed that Google competitors had complained that their services featured much lower in Google search results than Google’s own shopping services. The European Commission’s investigation found that Google’s algorithms demote rival comparison shopping services in the search results, with even the most highly ranked rival service appearing on average only on page four of Google’s search results. Google’s own comparison shopping service is not subject to the same search algorithms. Given Google’s over 90 percent share of the search market in all EU countries, this constitutes an abuse of a dominant market position under EU law.

To avoid further penalties, the European Commission, as stated by the report, ordered Google to give equal treatment to rival comparison shopping services. This means it must apply the same processes and methods to position and display rival comparison shopping services in its search results pages as it gives to its own comparison shopping service.

The report concluded by saying that this is only the first of three cases in which the European Commission has found that Google abused a dominant position.

The European Commission is also investigating Google’s role in the Android operating system and its AdSense platform, amid concerns it could be reducing choice and excluding competitors from the market. The European Commission said it’s also looking at Google’s treatment in its search results of other specialised Google search services.

Edited By: Darryl Linington
Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za
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Follow @DarrylLinington on Twitter

Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.