According to reports, the European Union has just fined tech giant Google with a record-breaking sum of $2.7 billion. This decision comes after a seven-year long investigation after numerous claims about Google abusing its internet search monopoly. More precisely, the company was accused of manipulating the search results. This is the biggest competition fine the European Commission has ever handed, double than the previous one which Intel received back in 2009. According to the European Union, Google had broken the competition law by using the power of its search engine to promote its online shopping service.
A record-breaking fine
The European Union also said that when people were searching on Google for various products, the results would boldly feature the company’s own price comparison. This was reportedly done by neglecting any other rival company. According to Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner, Google did something illegal by abusing its market dominance as the most popular search engine. In its search results, it promoted its own comparison shopping service by ignoring or downplaying those of its competitors. She also said that the tech giant had 90 days to stop this practice and give up on breaking the European Union law. Otherwise, the company could face even more fines which be worth billions.
.@Google gave illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service by abusing its search dominance: It must stop & pay fine of €2,4 bn.
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) June 27, 2017
This investigation into Google’s illegal practice began back in 2010. Some formal charges hit the company back in 2015 and 2016. However, the tech giant has denied multiple times that it did anything illegal. This decision might mark a turning point moment, especially as politicians are trying to deal with the growing powers of United States tech-giants. It’s also a lesson for any other company that they will get punished for breaking the law. What happened immediately sparked controversy and tensions, with Washington even accusing Brussels of “anti-American bias”.
The growing power of tech companies
Margrethe Vestager also said that Google is deep into illegality territory. It’s also very unfair to the other competitors. Moreover, what it did banned European users from having a free choice of products and services. It’s worth noting that in the European countries, over 90% of all search results run through Google. The company has also declared that it’s currently considering an appeal.
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