EU Hits Google with Record Fine

Sundar Pichai

NY [U.S.A.], June 28: European Union (EU) regulators penalised U.S. tech giant Google a record Dollars 2.7 billion antitrust fine on Tuesday, for denying "consumers a genuine choice" by using its search engine to unfairly steer them to its own shopping platform. With companies like Google looking to embed themselves in all aspects of our lives, it will make the job of regulators hard as Google, Amazon and Apple use their in-home products alongside their online services to push customers towards their products and services.

Google now has 90 days to fix its anti-competitive behavior, or it will face more fines.

He said the adverts are integral as they help "thousands of European merchants" to compete with larger companies such as Amazon and eBay. "This has deprived European consumers of the benefits of competition on the merits, namely genuine choice and innovation". It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fine trumps the previous antitrust record of $1.2 billion imposed on Intel in 2009.

The company has also been accused of blocking rivals in online search advertising. 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.

The EC also found Google guilty of demoting its rivals in its search results. "This decision means consumers receive comparison shopping results that offer genuinely the best purchasing options", said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer for FairSearch, a group of companies that complained to the EU.

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 the record fine was based on the value of Google's revenue from Google Shopping in the 13 affected EEA countries.

The Google is investigating by the European Commission since late 2010.

Google has said that it may appeal the ruling. We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. "And advertisers want to promote those same products", Kent Walker, senior vice president at Google, said in a statement.

The fine, equivalent to three per cent of Alphabet's turnover, is the biggest regulatory setback for Google, which settled with U.S. enforcers in 2013 without a penalty after agreeing to change some of its search practices.

Google said it will "review the commission's decision in detail" as they consider an appeal.

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