Search engine Google has been hit with a £2.1 billion fine for stifling competition and excessively promoting its own shopping service.
The European Commission ruled that the firm had “abused its market dominance” by promoting its own Google Shopping service above others.
A consumer using the firm’s online search engine currently sees results from Google Shopping promoted above the most relevant search results. The EU Commission described this as an “illegal advantage”.
The €2.42 billion (£2.1 billion) fine was calculated based on Google's revenue from its shopping sites in the 13 European countries affected – including the UK.
Google must change its practices within 90 days or face further action. The firm says it is considering an appeal.
‘Google has abused its market dominance’
Margrethe Vestager, European Union competition commissioner, says: “Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That's a good thing.
“But Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers. It wasn't just about making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It has denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice of services and innovation.”
A statement from Google says: “We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”