Google hit with €2.4bn fine by European Union over antitrust concerns

Google hit with staggering €2.42 billion fine for manipulating search results -- and it could be forced to pay even more

In a statement by EU's antitrust head Margrethe Vestager, the fine is apparently equivalent to how much damage Google has done to its competitors.

Google has been fined $2.7 billion by the European Union for giving an "illegal advantage" to its own services in search results.

The EU fine is also supported by USA companies such as Oracle, who previously accused the search giant of "stifling innovation". "This has deprived European consumers of the benefits of competition on the merits, namely genuine choice and innovation".

Europe's competition watchdog began investigating Google Shopping seven years ago, after complaints the internet giant gave the service a prominent position in its search results while rival services were demoted.

The EC's major concern - that Google is prioritising its own products in search results - is applicable to both Google Flights and Hotels. The commission then laid out its objections in early 2015 and spent the time since then deciding how to punish the company for its activity.

If Google fails to act, the Commission has said it will fine Google's parent company Alphabet five per cent of its average daily worldwide earnings.

Google said it "respectfully" disagreed with the European Union decision, which followed a seven-year investigation, and may appeal. She said hundreds of companies, including some based in the USA, complained about the way Google displayed its shopping service.


The fine signalled a tough stance by the agency in the first of three investigations into the company's dominance in searches and smartphones.

"Thousands of European merchants use these ads to compete with larger companies like Amazon and eBay".

"GOOG claims that the EU's decision underestimates the value that GOOG's features provides users, and that customers usually prefer links that take them directly to the products themselves, not to other websites where they have to repeat their search", Macquarie wrote.

But he also stressed that it is paramount to have "a very strong monitoring trustee and oversight to ensure that the remedy is put into practice correctly by Google". 'We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case'.

"Today's decision is a precedent which establishes the framework for the assessment of the legality of this type of conduct", the commission said.

Google General Counsel Kent Walker said "we respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today".

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