Google hit with staggering €2.42 billion fine for manipulating search results -- and it could be forced to pay even more
Google has been fined a record €2.42 billion ($2.7bn/£2.1bn) by the European Commission after a seven year investigation sparked by Microsoft and other firms, found that the company had unfairly promoted Google Shopping above other similar shopping comparison services on its search site.
The ruling also states that Google has 90 days to cease its anti-competitive practices or it could occur further penalties, and they could really rack up.
If Google fails to make the required changes, the European Commission could fine it 5 percent of parent company Alphabet's average daily worldwide earnings, which works out to around $14 million every day.
Google naturally isn’t pleased by the outcome, and Kent Walker, SVP and general council for the search giant stated:
When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That's why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both.
We believe the European Commission’s online shopping decision underestimates the value of those kinds of fast and easy connections. While some comparison shopping sites naturally want Google to show them more prominently, our data show that people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want, not to websites where they have to repeat their searches.
We think our current shopping results are useful and are a much-improved version of the text-only ads we showed a decade ago. Showing ads that include pictures, ratings, and prices benefits us, our advertisers, and most of all, our users. And we show them only when your feedback tells us they are relevant. Thousands of European merchants use these ads to compete with larger companies like Amazon and eBay.
Google is facing additional complaints regarding the prominence it gives to its other services -- including Maps and local listings -- in its search site, and today’s ruling could give those grievances a major boost.