EC fines Google over controlling the Shopping service in Europe

July 2018
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The European Commission has fined Google with EUR 2.42 billion after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results.

According to BBC, the amount is the regulator’s largest penalty to date against a company accused of distorting the market. The ruling also orders Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty.

The US tech company 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. Based on the company’s most recent financial report, that amounts to about USD 14 million a day.

The commission said it was leaving it to Google to determine what alterations should be made to its Shopping service rather than specifying a remedy.

The European Commission has been investigating Google Shopping since late 2010. Moreover, the probe was spurred on by complaints from Microsoft, among others. The commission believes it has struck a blow for consumers and for little companies at a time when online advertising - particularly on mobile phones - is dominated by Google and Facebook.

On the other hand, Google believes the regulator has a weak case and has failed to provide evidence that either consumers or rivals have been harmed.

Over all, BBC concludes by adding that there is mounting anxiety in the European capitals about the Gafas - Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - the four American giants that play such a huge role in all of our lives, and as a result, we can expect further action to try to limit their powers, with the potential for growing political tension between Brussels and Washington.