Google has been handed a record-breaking fine €2.42bn fine by the European Union for abusing its dominance of the search engine market in building its online shopping service, The Guardian reported.
European regulators gave the tech giant 90 days to stop its illegal activities or face fines of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing. But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its 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 the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
Google denies the claims and says it packages its search results in a way that makes it easier for consumers to find what they want.
The move follows a seven-year investigation by the European commission. In July last year, the commission had reiterated its belief that the search giant had “abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages”. Google denies the claim.