For a number of years now, European officials have taken an aggressive stance in regulating many of the world’s largest technology companies. This week, American tech giant Google received a record-breaking fine of $2.7B for antitrust violations, pertaining to its Google shopping search comparison service.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union antitrust chief announced this week that Google has systematically given prominent placement to its own shopping services. Meaning, when a consumer enters a shopping query into the Google search engine, the product comparisons of Google-affiliated companies were displayed at or near the top of the search results. Google also demoted rival shopping services, with players such as Amazon and eBay appearing on page four or even further down the Google search results.
Google’s Kent Walker, SVP and general counsel said: “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 continuing to make our case.”
The fine of $2.7B had been calculated on the basis of the value of Google’s revenue from its comparison shopping service in the 13 EU countries concerned. Google Alphabet’s full year revenue for 2016 was almost $90B.
Google has been given 90 days to end this misconduct or face further penalties of up to 5% of the average daily global revenue of parent company Alphabet for each day of non-compliance.
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