Search giant Google fined a record $2.7 billion after having been found to favour its own services over that of rivals
The European Union has taken an aggressive approach to regulating the world’s largest technology companies. Alongside the $2.7 billion fine against Google, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has also fined Apple $14.5 billion in Irish back taxes as well as investigating Amazon’s tax practices in Europe.
Google is facing two antitrust charges related to some advertising products and popular mobile software Android. The charges are separate.
Ms.Vestager is gaining recognition as the world’s most active regulator of digital services, challenging Silicon Valley’s dominion over the industry.
The $2.7 billion fine imposed on Google demonstrates the EU’s lack of hesitation to impose massive fines and penalties on large industry giants.
Although Google’s fine seems paltry in comparison with its $90 billion a year revenue, it will have the significant effect of shifting focus to how Google will change its policies to comply with Ms.Vestager’s decision.
Google rebuffs EU’s claims and Vestager’s decision
Google’s general counsel Kent Walker responded to Ms.Vestager’s decision on Tuesday, stating: “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.”
Google has 90 days to respond to the Commission’s demands – which may result in regular monitoring of its highly guarded search algorithm, a measure Google would likely fiercely combat.
Several other antitrust companies have filed complaints against Google, including other American technology companies Yelp and Oracle, all of which advocate strong action against Google dominating the European market.
Shivaun Raff, the co-founder of one such company filing a complaint against Google, said: “Google’s search engine has played a decisive role in determining what most of us read, use, and purchase online. Left unchecked, there are few limits to this gatekeeper power”.