European Commission fines Google over online shopping search results

Google has been slapped with a record-breaking $2.7 billion fine from the European Union for manipulating shopping search results. Google has 90 days to rectify the issue, or else it will face fines equivalent to 5 percent average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company.

Google has indicated it intends to appeal the ruling.

"Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives", Vestager said. "That's a good thing." said commissioner Margrethe Vestager who is in charge of competition policy. To gain an advantage, Google allegedly changed its strategy and started to give prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service at the expense of its competitors.

Google's actions allowed its own comparison shopping service to make significant gains in traffic while its rivals suffer substantial losses of traffic on a lasting basis. Algorithms were also created to demote other shopping services, with even the most highly ranked non-Google provider appearing on page four of a Google search result.

The EU antitrust body opened its investigation against the search engine giant about seven years ago following series of complaints from several companies about how they have been shut-out by Google.

He added that European regulators also erred in not considering Amazon and eBay as online-shopping competitors to Google.

Google's own response in an official blog post is that it "respectfully disagree with the conclusions a and will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal".

European Union announces $2.7B fine against Google for...

"When you shop online, you want to find the products you're looking for quickly and easily", a Google spokesman said in a statement to the press. The decision follows a seven-year investigation into the USA company's search algorithms.

Google's General Counsel also noted how some businesses tend to do better than others across industries, possibly implying that the EC shouldn't be punishing companies that adapt to contemporary technologies and demands faster than others. And advertisers want to promote those same products. The EU's antitrust filing states that Google showed users results from Google Shopping "irrespective of merits", which deprived rival price comparison sites of traffic.

Reuters points out that this is the biggest punishment imposed by the Commission on a company to date, far exceeding the €1.06 billion sanction against the USA chipmaker Intel in 2009.


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