EU Commission hits Google with record fine

The European Commission has ordered Google to pay a €2.4bn fine for breaching antitrust rules. 

US tech giant Google faces a fine of at least €2.4bn | Photo credit: Press Association

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

27 Jun 2017

The European Commission has fined Google €2.4bn, saying it gave illegal advantage to its shopping service by abusing its search dominance.

The US tech giant now has 90 days to end the practice, or face further penalty payments of up to five per cent of Alpahabet's - its parent company - daily worldwide turnover.

European competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager explained, "Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors. What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate."

The decision was widely welcomed by MEPs.

Manfred Weber, Chair of Parliament's EPP group, said Vestager had his "full support", adding, "protecting consumers is also about tackling specific behaviour based on strong EU competition rules."

His S&D group counterpart, Gianni Pittella, commented, "Giants like Apple or Google have brought a lot of innovation. Many of their products have changed the lives of millions of people around the world; but with great power comes great responsibility. We understand that a company can become dominant in the market, what is not acceptable is when a company abuses its dominance for unfair advantage. Today’s decision will protect innovation and consumers in order to allow a greater spectrum of services."

The decision comes after a seven-year investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from Microsoft.

Representatives for Google said the company was considering appealing the fine.

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