World’s leading technology company, Google has been fined 2.42bn euros ($2.7bn; £2.1bn) by the European Union (EU) after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the European Commission for Competition said that the fine was administered because Google has given “an illegal advantage” to itself over its competitors.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, said Google has “abused its market dominance as a search engine” because it has “denied other companies the chance to compete.”
“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.”
When users surf the internet for goods through Google’s search engine, they are more likely to encounter results from its “own comparison shopping centre services,” said Ms. Vestager.
Most importantly, she said Google’s market strategy for comparison shopping has prevented consumers from access to genuine choices when they shop using its search engine.
The commission says this is illegal under the EU’s fair play laws.
The European Commission further declared that the world’s most popular internet search engine has 90 days to stop favouring its own shopping service or face a further penalty per day of up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily global turnover.
Reacting to this, the US firm said it may appeal.
However, if it fails to change the way it operates the Shopping service within the three-month deadline, it could be forced to make payments of 5% of its parent company Alphabet’s average daily worldwide earnings.
The fine signalled a tough stance by the agency in the first of three investigations into the company’s dominance in searches and smartphones.