This week, Google was ordered to pay a $2.7 billion fine by the European Commission for “antitrust violations pertaining to its Google’s Shopping search comparison service.”
According to TechCrunch, the commission ordered Google to “end the censured conduct within 90 days,” however, per a statement from Kent Walker, SVP and general counsel to the company, Google is still considering an appeal, and they “respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced.” Which isn’t surprising, considering that $2.7 billion represents a full three percent of its 2016 revenue.
The original complaint, made all the way back in 2009, was submitted to the Commission by comparison shopping site, Foundem, who alleged that its service “effectively vanished from Google search results weeks after launch in 2006, and was not reindexed until years later.”
Siding with the complainant, the European Commission’s Competition Commissioner (say that five times fast) Margarethe Vestager had some strong words for the world’s second most valuable company.
“Google has given its own comparison shopping service [Google Shopping] an illegal advantage by abusing its dominance in general Internet search. It has promoted its own service, and demoted rival services. It has harmed competition and consumers. That’s illegal under EU antitrust rules.”
EU antitrust rules were written to ensure that “dominant companies” neither harm existing competition nor “block new entrants” from coming into a marketplace. Even more unfortunate for Google, is that this might be just the tip of the antitrust violation iceberg: Vestager is now looking into two other allegations against the company.
You can read more about it at TechCrunch.