Google slapped by $US2.4 billion antitrust fine

Glen Mclaughlin
June 30, 2017

European Union regulators said on Tuesday that "Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service".

The Commission said that Google acted illegally by giving priority placement in search results to its own shopping service, while relegating results from rivals to areas where potential buyers were much less likely to click. If Google fails to comply with the Commission's order it could face daily fines of up to 12.5 million (EUR) a day which represents 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of its parent company Alphabet.

"We're on the brink of doing more oral search, which of course poses new challenges, when it comes to enabling people to have a choice, when it comes to search results, to make sure they get the right answer to their queries", said European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager in a March interview.

However, some complainants against Google want their price comparison services to be better represented, but that would entail users clicking through to their service and then searching for a product again, according to Walker. "They allowed Google's comparison shopping service to make significant gains in traffic at the expense of its rivals and to the detriment of European consumers". Brussels accused the search engine giant of abusing its dominant position in search areas that include comparison shopping services.

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The EU fine is also supported by U.S. companies such as Oracle, who previously accused the search giant of "stifling innovation".

A rep for Google tells Reuters that the company respectfully disagrees with the Commission's finding.

Although the European Commission has reached its final verdict against Google, the search giant has not given up its fight. "It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate". The fine is an astonishing 2.42 billion euro.

"When you use Google to search for products, we try to give you what you're looking for", Walker said. "Advertisers also want to market those same items, which is why Google displays these ads", Google said in reply to the conviction. Additionally, there were many exchanges with customers and competitors, and some of them, some United States companies, were involved as complainants, the Commission claimed. "That's why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both", Kent Walker, SVP, and General Counsel, told Fossbytes in a statement.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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