Google has been under investigation for some times now over an allegation of abuse of its power as the leading search engine, in order to promote Google Shopping over its rivals in the price-comparison market. The probe is conducted by the EU.
Google has now been fined €2.42 billion ($2.72 billion) by the European Commission, after it found Google guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules. The tech titan must halt the practice of dishonestly promoting its service over others via its search engine within 90 days, or it will face a penalty of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of its parent, Alphabet. Needless to say, that’s a lot of money.
According to watchdogs, Google’s unlawful practices have led to some of its rivals losing up to 92% of their traffic. The official press release states that some competitors were able to recover a portion of their lost traffic, “but never in full.”
“Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.
“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.”