According to the European Commission, Google took advantage of its market position to more prominently feature its own products in the search results. The fine is an astonishing 2.42 billion euro.
Abuse of power
Everything revolved around Google Shopping, because Google’s own products always appear at the top of that service. Europe feels this does not give the competition ample means to display their own products to anyone browsing online.
“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 by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors”, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.
Google does not agree with that statement and says it only does what the consumer asks it to do. “If you shop online, you want to quickly and easily find the items you are looking for. Advertisers also want to market those same items, which is why Google displays these ads”, Google said in reply to the conviction.
The technology company has not yet indicated whether it will appeal the decision, because it wants to examine the European Commission’s decision first. Only then will it possibly appeal.
The Google enquiry was launched seven years ago and the 2.42 billion euro fine is the highest ever for the European Commission. This is also not the only European investigation into Google’s practices, which may mean it faces other fines. However, the Commission is also facing criticism for the harsh way it tackles companies like Facebook, Google and Apple. Critics say it all feels like protectionism.