PanARMENIAN.Net – Google has been hit with a record-breaking €2.42 billion ($2.7 billion) fine by the European Union for breaking antitrust law. The decision follows a seven-year investigation into the US search giant’s shopping comparison service, which ended with the judgement that Google had “abused its dominant position by systematically favoring” its own services. The fine is the largest antitrust judgement handed out by the executive body of the EU, the European Commission, and beats a €1 billion penalty given to Intel in 2009, The Verge said.
The target of today’s (June 27) case is Google Shopping, a price comparison feature built into the company’s main search engine. The commission’s antitrust filing states that Google showed users results from Google Shopping “irrespective of [their] merits,” depriving rival price comparison sites of traffic. As part of today’s decision, Google will have to change how its search algorithm ranks websites — a major imposition that the company will not take lightly. If it does not end its current conduct, says the EU, it will face penalties of up to five percent of its average daily turnover.
In a press statement, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager praised Google for coming up with “many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives.” But, she added, the company also “abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.”
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