The fine is the equivalent of around 3 percent of Alphabet's global turnover. It has been imposed on Google by the EU's competition regulators after it found that Google had abused its dominant position in Search in order to push its own shopping ads over rival services, such as price comparison services.
"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," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
The U.S. multinational was given 90 days since the ruling to stop favoring its own services in search results related to shopping, or face a further daily penalty of up to 5 percent of Alphabet's daily turnover.
Google has responded with respectful disagreement with the conclusions reached by the European Commission and is assessing its options.
Kent Walker, senior vice president and general council, writes that the European Commission has underestimated the value of the ads placed by Google on such search results. He points out that when users search for a product while shopping, they naturally prefer direct links to such products.
However, some complainants against Google want their price comparison services to be better represented, but that would entail users clicking through to their service and then searching for a product again, according to Walker.
In additon, the ads are placed on behalf of thousands of European merchants who use the ads as a means to compete with far larger entities, like Amazon or eBay.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 28 Jun 2017 10:16