The European Commission just handed Google a $2.7 billion fine for prioritizing its products in its natural search results. The EU Commission ruled that the giant search engine company has been abusing its power and putting its own paid shopping products on top of search results.
The $2.7 (€2.42bn or £2.1bn) billion is by far the largest penalty against a company accused of distorting a market to date. It also includes an order that Google must end its anti-competitive practices within 90-days or else; they will pay further penalties amounting to 5 percent of their mother company Alphabet’s daily average global earnings.
Given the recent verdict, the EU Commission has not stated a specific guidance as to what Google would have to do to remedy the accused illegal practice. Except for advice that they should stop their antitrust activity to prevent further heavier penalties, there are no other clues as to what the EU wants with Google’s marketing strategy.
The EU Commission also stated that Google should refrain from doing any measure similar or an equivalent effect. Google must also comply with the simple principle that they should give equal treatment to rival comparison shopping services such as Amazon and Bing as to its very own service.
That means that Google has to apply its algorithm when using the search results to its services and not enjoy a favoritism scenario.
While the Commission Decision left the option to Google in choosing whichever method it decides to apply and the responsibility to ensure compliance, the search engine giant will be closely monitored. In addition to that, Google must also inform the Commission of its action within the first 60 days of the decision followed by periodic reports.
In an excerpt from the ruling, it said that “However, Dominant companies have a special responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition, either in the market where they are dominant or in separate markets.”
According to some experts, this decision from the EU Commission is quite controversial because it is penalizing Google for being a dominant force in its market field. Some people would say that as long as you own something, you are free to do away whatever you want with it.
While it is typically annoying sometimes that Google is prioritizing their comparison products over other rivals when displayed on its platform, it is still up to them whatever they intend to do with their services. Google is not a utility owned by any government.
Still, to understand Google’s criteria in determining which product or services will be on top or will be included on page one of its search result, it will be apparent that Google has not been abiding its very own criteria and rules of the algorithm when it comes to showing products on its platform. It favors its services.
Whether EU Commission made a wrong decision or Google is doing what it thinks is legal that is for any person to decide.
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