The European Union’s antitrust chief announced a record $2.7 billion fine against Google on Tuesday, saying that the powerful web-search leader illegally steered users toward its comparison shopping site and warning that other parts of Google’s business were in the crosshairs.
The fine is the largest the European Union has ever levied against a company for abusing its dominant position, and marked the latest confrontation over business practices between EU regulators and American tech giants. Google could face dizzying additional penalties if it loses an expected appeal and fails to comply.
The announcement caps a seven-year investigation into Google’s trade practices. Other related cases against Google are ongoing.
Google – which is considering an appeal – issued a statement minutes after the EU announcement, claiming the company’s shopping site helps both consumers and advertisers.
The ruling was about how Google presents shopping results at the top of its search screen. The European Commission said that Google has been improperly channeling users toward its own Google Shopping comparison service rather than allowing rival services an equal chance at the results.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Michael Birnbaum