EU fines Google record $2.7bn in antitrust case

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  • EU fines Google record $2.7bn in antitrust case

The European Union antitrust regulators on Tuesday hit Alphabet unit of Google with a record €2.42bn ($2.7bn) fine, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The commission took a tough line in the first of three investigations into the company’s dominance in searches and smartphones.

It is the biggest fine the EU has ever imposed on a single company in an antitrust case, exceeding a €1.06bn sanction handed down to United States chipmaker, Intel, in 2009.

The European Commission said the world’s most popular Internet search engine had 90 days to stop favouring its own shopping service or face a further penalty per day.

The penalty it said would be up to five per cent of Alphabet’s average daily global turnover.

The fine, equivalent to three per cent of Alphabet’s turnover, is the biggest regulatory setback for Google, which settled with US enforcers in 2013 without a penalty after agreeing to change some of its search practices.

The EU competition enforcer has also charged Google with using its Android mobile operating system to crush rivals.

The case could potentially be the most damaging for the company, with the system used in most smartphones.

The company has also been accused of blocking rivals in online search advertising.

The commission found that Google had a market share in searches of over 90 per cent in most European countries.

The EU discovered that Google had systematically given prominent placement in searches to its own comparison shopping service and demoted those of rivals in search results.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement, “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 said its data showed people preferred links taking them directly to products they want and not to websites where they have to repeat their search.

It stated that it would review the commission’s decision and consider appeal.

“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal. We look forward to continuing to make our case,” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, said in a statement.

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

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
Samed Olukoya is the CEO/Founder of investorsking.com, a digital business media, with over 10 years' experience as a foreign exchange research analyst and trader. A graduate of University of East London, U.K. and a vivid financial markets analyst.

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