The EU has fined Google a massive €2.42 billion ($A3.59 billion) after it found the search behemoth had been promoting its own shopping comparison sites at the top of its searches.
In its findings, the European Commission found that Google had breached anti-competitiveness laws and distorted the market and ordered the tech giant to amend its ways in 90 days or face further penalties.
It’s understood that Google’s practises have been under investigation since 2010 and were initially instigated following complaints by Microsoft.
However, Google has already hinted that it is planning to appeal the hefty fine and has refuted the claims made against it. Google also believes that the likes of eBay and Amazon have far more sway over consumer decision making than it does.
Some commentators have suggested the EU are merely trying to kerb the influence of “GAFA” – the American giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
It’s understood this is the highest fine of its type ever handed done to a corporation by the European Commission.
If Google fails to act, the Commission has said it will fine Google’s parent company Alphabet five per cent of its average daily worldwide earnings.
Google pulls in about $US280 million per day, meaning the fine would be around the $US14 million a day mark.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” said 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.”