EU fines Google record $2.7 billion in first antitrust case

Gladys Abbott
June 27, 2017

She also noted that regulators are making "good progress" in its other Google probes into Android and search advertising, and that the "preliminary conclusion" is that they breach European Union anti-trust rules.

Walker said the search results displayed by the company are "the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback". "And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services", added the Commissioner.

Google has 90 days to end the conduct or face penalties of up to 5 percent of the average daily revenue of its parent company, Alphabet Inc.

The fine is the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behaviour, exceeding a 1.06-billion-euro ($1.56-billion) penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009.

The fine centers around Google's comparison shopping service - which has been known by names from Froogle and Google Product Search to Google Shopping - and its prominent display in related search results.

"Given the evidence, we respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today", he said.

The amount of the fine, the European Commission said, is due to "the duration and gravity" of Google's actions. Regardless of the option chosen by Google, the Commission will closely monitor compliance with the terms and obligations of Google to notify the Commission of its activities (beginning within 60 days of the decision and then in the periodic reports).

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The action follows a seven-year investigation prompted by scores of complaints from rivals such as U.S. consumer review website Yelp, TripAdvisor, UK price comparison site Foundem, News Corp and lobbying group FairSearch.

The big fine and broad remedy order mark a major escalation in Brussels' fight over whether the Mountain View, Calif., company has used its dominance in markets stretching from online ads to mobile-phone software as a cudgel to promote its own services at the expense of competitors.

The Commission said Google has given its own shopping service favourable treatment since 2008, demoting rival services in its search listings.

And as President Trump advocates a fierce America-first policy of trade protectionism, the ruling also raised questions of how his administration would respond to the broadside hit against one of the richest companies in the United States.

Tuesday's decision will also likely renew complaints from USA firms that they are being unfairly targeted in the EU, something European officials strenuously deny. "We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case", Walker said.

The EU's antitrust case against Google should be widened to cover the local search market.

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