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Google has been fined a record-breaking €2.4 billion by the European Commission for violating antitrust rules in Google’s Shopping search comparison service. After a seven-year investigation into the US tech giant, its findings found that Google has “abused its market dominance” by giving placement priority to its own comparison shopping service, and demoting rival comparison shopping services in its search results. The EU says that because of Google’s dominance throughout the European Economic Area, it has a responsibility in exercising its position in not abusing their market to impair competitors.
As a result, the company has been given 90 days to stop its illegal activities or face additional penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Google has been instructed to apply equal treatment to position rival comparison shopping services in Google’s search results, and to its own comparison shopping service. The EU has also already concluded that the Silicon Valley company has abused its position in two other cases that are being investigated, one concerning with Android phone manufacturers, and the other on its AdSense business.
Google has rejected the commission’s findings, indicating its intention to appeal, and a long legal battle ahead between the two. The fine is the largest antitrust judgment from the European Commission, surpassing a €1.6 billion fine to Intel for anticompetitive practices after results showed it gave price discounts to computer manufactures Acer, Dell, HP, Lenevo and NEC if they bought its chips. Earlier this year, the EU has also fined Facebook for misleading information during the commission’s 2014 investigation of the social network’s acquisition of Whatsapp.