Today the European Commission revealed the results of their Anti-Trust investigation in Google and in particular, their shopping comparison service.
As a result of this investigation, the regulator found Google to be guilty and hit them with a massive €2.42 billion fine, which is around £212 billion or $2.72 billion.
On top of this, the EU gave Google a 90-day ultimatum to stop promoting its shopping service in their search results.
If they fail to do this, they will face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said the following about it:
“Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing. But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. 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.
What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
Google also provided the following statement about the fine:
“We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections. While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data show that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches.
We think our current shopping results are useful and are a much-improved version of the text-only ads we showed a decade ago. Showing ads that include pictures, ratings, and prices benefits us, our advertisers, and most of all, our users. And we show them only when your feedback tells us they are relevant. Thousands of European merchants use these ads to compete with larger companies like Amazon and eBay.”
This is certainly interesting news, however, we don’t yet know if Google will be compliant with the EU or if they will appeal the verdict, although it is probably likely that they will at least attempt an appeal.
We will keep you updated as this story evolves, in the meantime, you can find out more about it at the source links below.