Google Slammed with €1 Billion Fine By EU Over Market Domination and AntiTrust Behaviour
Google has been charged with a penalty of more than a billion Euros by the European Commission. The tech giant has been found guilty of antitrust behaviour and market domination practices like promoting its own services over rivals.
According to a report by the Financial Times, Google has been charged in three separate legal investigations into company’s trading practices. Antitrust behaviour is the part of one of those investigations. It will be given an official notice in the coming weeks.
The accusation of unfair trade practice in this case means that whenever any user searches for any product on Google, the top results on the search engine are always by Google Shopping than other price-comparison websites. The European Commission has looked into the matter and found Google guilty of the unfair practice. Following the accusation, the company will be charged with the hefty fine. The commission will also be asking the company to rectify the issue and downgrade its own links in the search results.
In its defence, Google argued that the online shopping arena was ‘robustly competitive.’ Google sees Amazon as the most dominant player in the marketplace. It also pointed out the fact that Amazon constitutes more than a third of online product searches in comparison to 14.3% on Google. As believable as it may sound to Google, but EC has apparently rejected the argument.
The $1.2 Billion fine is huge, but it is lesser than EU’s maximum penalty. According to EU rules, it can charge up to 10% of antitrust fine on company’s annual revenue. In that case, Google could have been asked to pay around $7.6 billion.
There could be implications of this decision by the EU, similar to the case wherein EU slammed Ireland with illegal state aid accusation for Apple. Ireland was found guilty of supporting Apple. As a result, Apple was asked to pay €13B ($14.5B) in back taxes.
European Court of Justice
Google is most likely to appeal the ruling to the European Court of Justice, which could take several years in the process. Other than unfair trade practice, the company is also under investigation for abusing ad sales network and forcing Android makers to include Google apps instead of others.