EU Fines Google a Record 2.42 Billion Euros

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The European competition watchdog found the firm abused its dominance as a search engine to boost its shopping comparison service over others.

A €1.06billion (£948million) fine handed down to U.S. chipmaker Intel in 2009 is the highest to date.

Google has been ordered to end the preferential treatment of its own service within 90 days.

The fine, equivalent to 3 percent of Alphabet's turnover, is the biggest regulatory setback for Google, which settled with US enforcers in 2013 without a penalty after agreeing to change some of its search practices. That's a good thing.

May 2014 - In a separate case, the European Court of Justice rules that Google must consider EU citizens' requests to remove irrelevant or embarrassing personal information that pops up on a search of their names. "And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation".

Google says it is considering an appeal. Furthermore, more traffic also attracts more retailers that want to list their products with a comparison shopping service. 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 respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today", a Google spokesperson said.

Vestager said that from 2008, Google began to implement in European markets a fundamental change in strategy to push its comparison shopping service.

The action came after an investigation that stretched into its seventh year, following complaints from the likes of Yelp, TripAdvisor and Foundem, all of which are price comparison rivals.

The record fine of €2,424,495,000 takes account of the duration and gravity of the infringement, and was calculated "on the basis of the value of Google's revenue from its comparison shopping service in the 13 EEA countries concerned".

The EU competition enforcer has also charged Google with using its Android mobile operating system to crush rivals, a case that could potentially be the most damaging for the company, with the system used in most smartphones.

But it could affect Google's way of doing business in the longer-term.

The decision could force broader changes to the way Google designs its search results in Europe because it sets a possible precedent for other search services, such as travel and maps, which the European Union is also scrutinizing.

Her move against Google risks attracting further criticism that she's unfairly singled out USA companies. Contemporary evidence from Google shows that the company was aware that Froogle's market performance was relatively poor - one internal document from 2006 stated "Froogle simply doesn't work". "Left unchecked, there are few limits to this gatekeeper power".

In a statement News Corp, which owns The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers, said: "We applaud the European Commission's leadership in confronting the discriminatory behaviour of Google in the comparison shopping industry".

November 2010 - The EU opens formal inquiry into whether Google manipulates search results in a way that favors its own business.

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