Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Google fined record €2.4b by European Union in anti-trust case

In its summary of the effect of Google's illegal practices, the Commission says that since the beginning of each abuse, Google's comparison shopping service has increased its traffic 45-fold in the United Kingdom, 35-fold in Germany, 19-fold in France, 29-fold in the Netherlands, 17-fold in Spain and 14-fold in Italy.

European regulators say "Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service". It will probably change the way in which its "Shopping" results are shown, so consumers may find that they have to choose who provides the comparison at the top of a Google search.

One major caveat to all this though is that Google is planning to appeal Vestager's decision, and any such appeal process may go on well into the 2020s.

The European Commission, which polices EU competition rules, alleges Google elevates its shopping service even when other options might have better deals. That's a good thing. It is investigating whether Google abused its ownership of the Android operating system to harm designers of apps that rival its own, and it's also accusing Google of stopping competition in search ads.

By ranking Google Shopping service ahead of other competitors, Google was able to significantly increase the amount of traffic to the previously ailing service, thereby generating more clicks and revenue.

European Union regulatory guidelines stipulate that such fines for antitrust abuses are capped at up to 10 percent of the company's global turnover.

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He said the adverts are integral as they help "thousands of European merchants" to compete with larger companies such as Amazon and eBay.

Most importantly, she said Google's market strategy for comparison shopping has prevented consumers from access to genuine choices when they shop using its search engine.

However, the case is unlikely to end here as Google disagrees with the Commission's findings and has indicated that it is likely to appeal the decision in the next two months.

This is a problem, according to the regulators, as Google has a market share in searches of over 90% in most European countries, Reuters reports.

The company has also been ordered to cease its behavior with regard to its comparison shopping service within 90 days or face additional fines of up to five percent of parent company Alphabet's worldwide daily revenues. And advertisers want to promote those same products.

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