The European Union has fined tech giant Google a record €2.4 billion after it was found guilty of manipulating its search engine results to expand its comparison shopping service.
The company must now end the conduct within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said the EU’s competition commission.
“Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing. ” said commissioner Margrethe Vestager who is in charge of competition policy.
“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.”
In 2004 Google entered the separate market of comparison shopping in Europe, with a product that was initially called “Froogle”, re-named “Google Product Search” in 2008 and since 2013 has been called “Google Shopping”.
While it was not the first comparison shopper on the market, it has subsequently grown to be the biggest.
The commission subsequently found that by promoting its own comparison shopping service, it unfairly disadvantaged the other comparison services which to a large extent on traffic to be competitive.
You can read the full judgement here.