Critics have accused the EU of “playing politics” in accusing the tech giant of manipulating shopping results in its interest…
The £2.1 billion which was slapped on Google this week was a “lost battle it probably deserved to win”, according to the Financial Times.
The Internet giant, accused of abusing internet search monopoly for its own gain, came under fire from the EU following a seven-year investigation – the results of which are the first of its kind in history.
The penalty, now an all time highest, was more than double the previous record holder from 2009, when Intel was fined £970 million for “anti competitive practices”. (Intel later appealed but had it quashed in court in 2014).
The European Commission has not been shy about levying enormous fines to giant companies for self-exploitation based activities, and there is big, big money being ordered around as a result.
Was the Google Penalty a Statement?
This fine is worth more than €2.2bn (£2bn) and is the first ruling of its sort. Google “abused its power” by distorting the market and promoting its own interests first.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” declared Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner.
“It has denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation.”
Critics have said that the EU taking on Google in such a way has been a statement and a warning to other giant companies who may have entered a similar spotlight.
Tech Giants’ at War
Prompted by rival technical giant Microsoft (and others), this investigation has been tunneling through information since 2010. Christopher Williams said in the Telegraph that “until a couple of years ago Microsoft was one of the main forces behind complaints against Google.”
Critics have speculated that the investigation was driven by competing companies and that it was a “battle (Google) probably deserved to win.”
Regardless, the decision has been made, and Google face having to cough up the huge fine after their “immensely harmful search manipulation practices” – according to the Chief Executive of Foundem.
He added: “”For well over a decade, 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.”
Google has been given three months to rectify the issues and to make their practices in line with the EU’s demands.
There is a possibility they will appeal the decision which could actually postpone any final arrangements for years to come. If they pay up, it will go down in history as one of the largest and notable fines of its kind.