By Abdul Tukur
Google has been fined a record £2.1bn for breaching EU competition rules for with its own shopping service.
Investigation into Google shopping began seven years ago and it concluded that the internet search engine gave an “illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service by abusing its search dominance.”
In one instance, Google relegate competitors to the fourth page, while its own shopping service was displayed at the top search.
The EU commission noted that 95 per cent of clicks on computers were made on the first search result page. The top result on page two attracted just one per cent of clicks.
It has been given 90 days to stop the practice or face more fines.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner said: “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.”
“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.” Mrs Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, went on to add.
Google is considering an appeal. A spokesman said: “When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products.
“That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both. 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.”