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Google has been slapped with a record-breaking $2.7 billion fine after the European Commission concluded that the company was in violation of EU antitrust regulations. The fine is the largest the EU has ever imposed on a single company and concludes a seven-year investigation into the matter.
European antitrust regulators accused Google of “abusing dominance” by unfairly favoring its own services over its rivals. Specifically, regulators found that Google was giving more prominence to its own comparison shopping service, while downplaying rival services in its search results, according to a European Commission press release. Additionally, the Mountain View company has also been accused of blocking rival’s ads in online searches.
“Google abused its market dominance as a search engine…” Commissioner Magrethe Vestager said. “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.”
To put the fine into context, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was reported to have a full-year revenue of around $90 billion in 2016. That makes the EU fine around 3 percent of Alphabet’s turnover for the year — the company’s largest regulatory setback thus far, Reuters reported. “We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to making our case,” Google’s Kent Walker said in a statement.
The Commission said that Google has 90 days to stop favoring its own services, or the tech giant will face a more severe penalty of around 5 percent of its average global turnover per day.