The European Commission has ruled that Google is denying consumers a ‘genuine choice’ when it comes to online shopping by using their popular search engine to direct consumers to their own shopping platform. As a punishment for this, they have issued a record breaking $2.7 billion fine, with additional penalties to come if Google doesn’t change their behavior within 90 days.
Margrethe Vestager, a 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.”
Google has replied to this issue through a spokesperson saying, “We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”
This is the latest, and largest, in a series of cases against large American tech companies doing business in the EU. There are current or settled cases against Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and other cases against Google. All of this can cost these tech companies millions (or billions), and make it much more difficult for them to do business in the region.