Earlier this month, we reported on an anticipated antitrust ruling by the European Commission over whether Google had abused its search dominance to promote its Google Shopping over rival services.
“Google could be facing a fine of more than €1bn,” we noted at the time. It turns out that was a considerable underestimate.
When the ruling arrived yesterday, the fine for breaching EU antitrust rules was €2.42bn (around $2.7bn) for giving Google Shopping an “illegal advantage” over rivals.
“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,” said competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
Google must now end the conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of parent company Alphabet’s average daily global revenues.
For its part, Google has already published a blog post giving “the other side of the story”, claiming that its shopping-ads system benefits consumers rather than harms competition.