The European Commission found out that the Google denied “consumers a genuine choice” by using its search engine to unfairly steer them to its own shopping platform.
Regulators said that the Tech giant must change its behavior within 90 days or face additional penalties.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” said Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s top antitrust official. “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 Office building
“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,” a Google spokesperson said. “We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”
The Commission said that the Tech giant acted illegally by giving priority placement in search results to its own shopping service, while relegating results from rivals to areas where potential buyers were much less likely to click.
It could have fined the Tech giant as much as 10% of its annual sales, or roughly $9 billion.
The $2.7 billion fine represents just over 2.5% of Google’s revenue last year and Alphabet, Google’s owner, had $92.4 billion in cash as of end of March.
Vestager said Google’s competitors could claim compensation in national courts within the EU. She said hundreds of companies, including some based in the U.S., complained about the way the Tech giant displayed its shopping service.
Google’s regulatory headache in Europe doesn’t end with the online shopping case, which dates back to 2010. The EU has also accused the Silicon Valley titan of abusing its market position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. It is also investigating the company’s ad placing service, AdSense.