European Union Fines Google $2.7 billion in Antitrust Ruling

On Tuesday Google was slapped with a fine of $2.7 billion by European Union’s antitrust officials for breaking the European Union’s antitrust rules for favoring some of its own search services over those of rivals.

In a statement on Tuesday, the incumbent European Union Commissioner Ms. Vestager said, “What Google has done is illegal under E.U. 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.”

Apart from this huge fine of 2.4 billion euros, Google also faces two separate charges under the bloc’s competition rules related to its popular mobile software, Android and to some of its advertising products. Accusations that Google denies.

The Fine of $2.7 billion imposed on Google, is the record antitrust fine imposed on any company till date by the European Union. In 2009, European Union had fined $1.7 billion to Intel Corporation (INTC) in a monopoly abuse case, which was the highest of its kind previously.

“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,” Kent Walker, the company’s general counsel, said in a statement. “We will review the commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”

 

Google has repeatedly denied that it breached Europe’s tough competition rules. In a statement on Tuesday, Google rebuffed the claims made by European Union, saying that its services had helped the region’s digital economy grow. It has also said that significant online competition remains in Europe, including from companies like Amazon and eBay.

The  European Union’s officials on Tuesday said, that they would continue to monitor the company’s activities to ensure that it was complying with the ruling. Google has been given 90 days to respond to the demands of European Union’s antitrust Commission, or it will face penalties of up to 5 percent of the average daily global revenue of its parent company Alphabet.

In other options available, Google can remove some of its specialized search services from Europe, or return them to how they operated before Europe’s investigation began almost a decade ago.

“The ruling might even impact Google’s operations in the U.S. beyond Google Shopping,” as a number of American companies including Oracle, Yelp, News Corporations, have already filed antitrust complaints against Google according to a public letter, before the ruling was released.

 

 

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