The world’s most popular internet search engine Google has been slapped with a record 2.42 billion euro fine by EU antitrust regulators on Tuesday, for abusing its market dominance by giving priority to its own comparison shopping service as well as for using its Android mobile operating system to do away with rivals.
Equivalent to 3 percent of parent company Alphabet’s turnover, this is the largest fine ever imposed by the EU on a single company in an antitrust case. Google has a market share in searches of over 90 percent in most European countries. The Commission charge comes after a seven-year investigation following complaints from competitor companies.
According to the European Commission decision, Google has 90 days to stop favoring its own ‘Google Shopping’ service or face a further daily penalty of up to 5 percent or approximately 10.5 million euros a day of Alphabet’s average daily 2016 global turnover.
“Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. 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. 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,” European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said in a statement on Monday.
“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.”
Google said on Tuesday that it is considering an appeal against the EU antitrust fine.
“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case,” said Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel.
The Commission did not specify what changes required of Google.