Belfast Telegraph

EU Commission fines Google £2.1bn for search breaches

By Ben Woods

Google has been slapped with a record fine of €2.42bn (£2.1bn) by Europe's competition watchdog after breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.

The European Commission has told the internet search giant that it now has 90 days to stop the practice or face a penalty of up to 5% of the average daily turnover of the firm's parent company, Alphabet.

However, Google said it was considering launching an appeal against the commission once it had reviewed the decision.

The penalty comes after the competition referee launched an investigation into Google Shopping seven years ago, amid complaints it gave the service a prominent position on the internet search engine, while rival services were demoted.

In a statement, commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives.

"That's a good thing. But Google's strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn't just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals.

"Instead, 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." The watchdog said Google was the most dominant search engine across the 31 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

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