The long-awaited decision in the major EU antitrust case against Google has just come in, and the results are bigger than was ever expected. The Internet juggernaut has been slammed with a fine of €2.42 billion due to an abuse of its dominant position in the market – the biggest fine handed down in EU antitrust law to date.
Google’s promotion of its comparison shopping service in search results was a clear breach of the proper behaviour of a company in a dominant position according to EU law, and considering the almost 80% market share that Google holds in the search engine field, the severity of the EU’s decision to most makes sense.
Last month we spoke to the force behind this decision, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, on her well-documented tough stance on Silicon Valley tech giants like Apple and Google coming into Europe to conduct business. Vestager told us; “In Europe we don’t even have a ban against monopolies; you can be successful, you can be dominant, but the congratulations stop when we find you are misusing your dominant position to disable others from competing against you…you can be very powerful but you have to accept that with these powers comes responsibility.”
The huge toll of the fine is double the €1.1 billion predicted throughout this 7-year mammoth case and demonstrates the lengths that Vestager and the EU are prepared to go to in order to prevent the abuse of European business values by Silicon Valley companies like Google.
Unsurprisingly, Google has expressed that it “respectfully” disagrees with the ruling against them and will be looking into an appeal of the decision, however considering that it will be fined a further 5% of its total turnover if it does not cease the abusive practice within 90 days, Google should really heed the warning served by the EU today.