EU Fines Google $2.7 Billion In Antitrust Ruling: Abuse of Search Dominance

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Google has been fined a record €2.42 billion ($2.7bn/£2.1bn) by the European Commission after a seven year investigation sparked by Microsoft and other firms, found that the company had unfairly promoted Google Shopping above other similar shopping comparison services on its search site.

According to the report, Google rigged the search results to benefit its product comparison service Google Shopping.

The Commission has also charged Google with using its Android mobile operating system to the disadvantage of rivals.

Advertising giant Google has been handed a record-breaking fine of €2.42 billion (around £2.15 billion) by the European Union over claims the company used its monopoly share of the western search market to charge companies a fee to push their products over those of the competition.

It gave the U.S. company 90 days to stop or face fines of up to 5 per cent of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet.

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The fine is the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behaviour, exceeding a 1.06 billion euros penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009.

In addition to the fine, Google is required to give rival comparison shopping services equal treatment, and the company must explain how it will accomplish that. It wasn't just about making its product better than its rivals. The Commission did not specify what changes Google had to make."This decision is a game-changer".

But the dollar amount of the fine is secondary, and what the European Union accomplishes in changing Alphabet's business practice is a much bigger issue over the longer term.

The commission said Google "gave prominent placement in its search results only to its own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services".

Google's comparison service was then found to have made significant gains in traffic at the expense of its rivals, with a 45-fold increase in the United Kingdom, 35-fold in Germany and 19-fold in France.

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He also notes that Google is likely to face civil action from European competitors which have been impacted by its actions.

Google's chief counsel, Kent Walker, said that the search giant would consider appealing the decision.

Those changes led to what the regulators said was a 45-fold traffic increase in the United Kingdom and a 35-fold increase in Germany, with drops of traffic to rivals of 85 percent in the United Kingdom and 92 percent in Germany.

The penalty payment for failure to comply would amount to around $12 million a day based on Alphabet's 2016 turnover of $90.3 billion.

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