NY [U.S.A.], June 28: European Union (EU) regulators penalised U.S. tech giant Google a record Dollars 2.7 billion antitrust fine on Tuesday, for denying "consumers a genuine choice" by using its search engine to unfairly steer them to its own shopping platform. "The end result might be similar to the default search engine option provided in Internet Explorer". Google must change the way it operates within 90 days or face additional penalties and risk being liable for up to 5% its average daily worldwide revenue. In a statement by EU's antitrust head Margrethe Vestager, the fine is apparently equivalent to how much damage Google has done to its competitors. "Google has abused its market dominance in its search engine by promoting its own shopping comparison site in its search results and demoting its competitors". "This has deprived European consumers of the benefits of competition on the merits, namely genuine choice and innovation".
Google was also fighting two other competition cases with the Commission that could see it hit with heavy fines.
Google has consistently denied any wrongdoing and this ruling will deal a sharp blow to the group, especially because online shopping searches are one of the company's most important sources of sales growth.
According to the Commission, Google's conduct has significantly restricted competition and disadvantaged rival services.
The penalty, of 2.4 billion euros, highlights the aggressive stance that European officials have taken in regulating numerous world's largest technology companies, going significantly further than their American counterparts.
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The decision follows Russia's US$7.8 million (S$10.8 million) antitrust fine and penalties from the Italian, German and French privacy authorities.
According to reports, the European Union has just fined tech giant Google with a record-breaking sum of $2.7 billion.
A larger part of the complaint came from retailers not willing to pay for inclusion: Organic results are pushed down the page by highly visual, thumbnail-based Google Shopping results, even when the company's search engine is set to the "All" category rather than the specific "Shopping" category.
Google General Counsel Kent Walker said "we respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today".
Mrs Vestager said Google leveraged its control of search traffic, which is over 95% in the European Union, to promote its own websites. With companies like Google looking to embed themselves in all aspects of our lives, it will make the job of regulators hard as Google, Amazon and Apple use their in-home products alongside their online services to push customers towards their products and services.