- REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Google has appealed a record-breaking €2.4 billion (£2.1 billion; $2.9 billion) fine from European regulators.
The European Commission, which acts as the European Union’s competition watchdog, issued the fine on June 27 after deciding that the Californian tech giant unfairly promotes its shopping service at the top of its search results.
Google confirmed the appeal to Business Insider but declined to comment further or give any detail.
If you’re not familiar with Google Shopping, it’s that graphical bar that shows up any time you search for a product. For example, if you Google the term “frock”, Google will show you some pictures of dresses with some links to third-party retailers such as British department store House of Fraser.
Let’s say you didn’t want to buy a frock though, and were just searching for the term. Normal results still show up underneath Google Shopping, but it still takes up almost half of the screen.
The Commission told Google to stop displaying its shopping service so prominently at the top of search results by September 28, saying it is an abuse of power.
When the fine was issued, Europe’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said: “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. 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.”
She added: “Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives. That’s a good thing. But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.”
Following the ruling, Google said it “respectfully” disagreed and was considering whether to appeal.
In a blog post published in response to the ruling, Google’s senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, challenged the finding.
“Our ability to do that well isn’t favoring ourselves, or any particular site or seller – it’s the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback,” he wrote.”Given the evidence, we respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”
Additional reporting by Shona Ghosh.