The European Commission has fined Google £2.1bn after concluding that the company misused their power by favouring their own shopping comparison service in online search results.
The record-breaking fine is the largest penalty to date dealt against a company accused of distorting the market by the European Commission. The decision also states that Google must end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or it will face another penalty.
The European Commission say that Google was wrong in promoting their own online shopping services over those of competitors on the search engine’s results.
However, Google disagrees with the conclusions of the report and is considering an appeal.
Google’s Senior Vice President and general counsel Kent Walker responded to the EU’s antitrust fine. He said that Amazon still remains a “formidable competitor”, and defended Google’s decision to promote its own search results ahead of competitors.
Mr Walker said: “Showing ads that include pictures, ratings, and prices benefits us, our advertisers, and most of all our users.
“Thousands of European merchants use these ads to compete with larger companies like Amazon and eBay.”
Essentially, Google are arguing that they don’t quite hold a monopoly on the market.
European regulators insist that Google refused its consumers fair choice, and removed the ability of rival firms to compete on a level playing field. If Google do not stop their illegal activities and produce a plan for reformation in 90 days, they will face fines of up to £11m a day – 5 percent of their parent company Alphabet’s daily earnings.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner said: “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”
She continued: “[Google] has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.”
Since the fine was reported in the press, shares in Alphabet have fallen by more than 1 percent.
Mr Walker says Google “respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today.
He added: “We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our own case.”