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Author Topic: Google Fined Record $2.7 Billion in EU for pushing people to its ads only  (Read 283 times)

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The European Union has issued a record fine against Google in a case that started in 2010 after rival Microsoft complained the search company was violating competition rules with its search engine.

Google has been fined €2.4bn ($2.7bn; £2.1bn) after the EU ruled that Google used its dominant position in the market to display its own shopping links at the top of search engine results, with the company given 90 days to also make changes that would stop the anti-competitive practices.

Google can also issue an appeal, but the company needs to comply with the requirements in the next 3 months, or otherwise face additional penalties.

The Mountain View-based company has been accused by Microsoft and other companies that it was favoring its own products, sometimes paid links from registered sellers, to appear above all the other results when users search for common keywords.

Microsoft’s Scroogled
Even though these results are marked as sponsored, sometime finding traditional links is substantially more difficult, especially on mobile devices where the first page is often populated by paid results.

Microsoft hasn’t issued a statement on Google’s fine, but the company was the one that started an investigation in 2010, making Google’s unfair practices the key focus of its own campaign called Scroogled.

Specifically supposed to highlight how Google violated competition rules, Scroogled was a program that was started by former CEO Steve Ballmer. Scroogled, which has been quietly shut down by the new CEO Satya Nadella, also revealed how Google displayed ads in its own Gmail email service, though no investigation in this case was started.

The fine that Google received from the EU is the largest ever against a tech company, but the Commission could have decided an even bigger penalty. According to EU rules, companies violating laws on the Old Continent can be fined up to 10 percent of its annual revenues, which according to the BBC reached  $90bn (£70.8bn) in its last financial year.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft to ask for some comments, though we do not expect anything else that a typical “we have nothing to add” statement.

Google has released a statement, explaining that it's already considering an appeal to EU's decision.

"When you use Google to search for products, we try to give you what you’re looking for. Our ability to do that well isn’t favoring ourselves, or any particular site or seller--it’s the result of hard work and constant innovation, based on user feedback," the company says.

"Given the evidence, 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."



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