EU fines Google a record 2.42 billion euros

Isaac Cain
June 27, 2017

European Union anti-trust regulators slapped a record 2.42 billion euro (S$3.78 billion) fine on Alphabet unit Google on Tuesday (June 27) for illegally favouring its own shopping service in web searches.

The fine comes after years of legal battles, and Google has said it will appeal the ruling.

The fine will be imposed by the European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager. "And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services". The EU regulatory authorities have given the renowned company 90 days to stop illegal activities or face a new punishment of up to 5% of their daily revenue from their roof company Alphabet.

In an 8-K filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Google said it will "review the formal decision, but expects that it will accrue the fine in the second quarter of 2017". Such is the case yet again, this time with the European Commission issuing a record-breaking fine of €2.42 billion (around $2.7 billion in USA currency) to Google for running afoul of antitrust law. The company also defended the way it handles online shopping, saying that it connects users with advertisers "in ways that are useful for both". "When you use Google to search for products, we try to give you what you're looking for".

Vestager said Google's competitors could claim compensation in national courts within the EU.

Feb 2014 - The EU and Google reach a tentative agreement on how to fix the search results. Google has announced that they will appeal the decision. "On the other hand, in the internet age it is possible for businesses to completely take over, and they need to be aware that the Commission will look to hold them to account".

More news: European Union fines Google record $2.7 billion for abusing search monopoly

"This is really sending a message to Google: change or we'll come after you", said Thomas Tindemans, the chairman of the Brussels office of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a consultancy, who has worked on previous technology antitrust cases. True, the European Commission is threatening Google with non-compliance payments, but these can be theoretically suspended if Google can prove they'd cause it irreparable damage, according to Renato Nazzini, a law professor at King's College.

Trump has spoken at times of a need for aggressive antitrust regulation, and Google's close ties to the White House under President Obama have been severed under the new political order.

Wait. Google has a shopping service?

It could have fined Google as much as 10% of its annual sales, or roughly $9 billion.

The Commission determined that the illegal promotion of Google Shopping over competitors created significant gains in site traffic for the Google product 'at the expense of rivals, and to the detriment of European consumers'.

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