Regulators from the European Union have charged the tech giant, Google, with a record €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) antitrust fine on Tuesday.
The reason for the charge against big G is because the European Commission had concluded that the company had denied “consumers a genuine choice” when they were using their search engine. EU regulators claim that Google unfairly steered away consumers to its own shopping platform.
Regulators said that the tech giant must change its behavior within 90 days or face additional penalties.
Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s top antitrust official said, “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.”
The tech giant has rebutted the EU’s claim saying that it tries to show ads in ways that are helpful for both, buyers and sellers.
“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,” a Google rep said. “We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”
The big issue with this is the Google shopping box. Why? Well, the Shopping box is displayed among other search results. The EU commission also said that they could have charged Google as much as $9 billion, which around 10% of their annual sales.
The light $2.7 billion fine placed by the EU Commission accounts for a little over 2.5% of big G’s revenue last year. Margrethe Vestager also said that Google’s competitors could claim compensation in national courts within the EU seeing as hundreds of companies, including some based in the U.S., complained about the way the tech giant displayed their shopping results.
The charge that came on Tuesday against Google makes the previous EU record antitrust fine of €1.06 billion against Intel in 2009, look like, small potatoes. The EU commission is said to be also investigating the companies ad placing service, AdSense.