Google fined $2.7 billion by EU for ‘abuse of search engine dominance’

Google has been fined $2.7 billion by the European Union for giving an “unlawful advantage” to its own services in search results.

The EU says Google is “abusing” its dominant position on search engines by ranking its own services ahead of competitors. Google has 90 days to change its practices in Europe, under penalty of even greater penalties.

This unprecedented decision is the culmination of a seven-year investigation. Google’s comparison shopping service has been at the center of the investigation, as the EU believes it is unfairly positioned above competing comparison shopping services.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a Press release:

“…Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service was not just to attract customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its dominant market position as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results and demoting those of its competitors.

Google has refuted the EU’s claims since day one, and released a statement of its own accord following the landmark decision.

Ken Walker, Google’s General Counsel, says:

“We believe the European Commission’s decision on online shopping underestimates the value of these kinds of quick and easy connections. While some price comparison sites understandably want Google to display them more prominently, our data shows that people generally prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their research.

While responding to the EU allegations, Walker points to competing online shopping destinations like Amazon and eBay, which have grown throughout the period of this investigation.

Since it “respectfully” disagrees with the EU’s findings, Google will consider an appeal and continue to argue its case.