EU fines Google $2.7 billion

WHAT IT IS

WHY IT MATTERS

This is the largest fine the EU has ever imposed on a single company in an antitrust case. European authorities are laying down a marker for more hands-on control of how the digital world operates. Though the $2.7 billion fine is a drop in the bucket compared to Google’s $90 billion in annual revenue, it highlights the region’s willingness to hold digital empires accountable.

  • EU – “Can’t deny the evidence”

    • The facts:   The Commission found that Google, with a market share in searches of over 90 percent in most European countries, gave prominent placement in searches to its own comparison shopping and demoted competitors.
    • Competition elimination:   The systematic search algorithm denied other companies the chance to compete in the market.
    • Illegality:   Google’s practice is illegal under EU antitrust rules.
  • Google – “What’s the problem?”

    • The customer’s always right:   Google said its data showed people preferred links taking them directly to products they want and not to websites where they have to repeat their search.
    • Just trying to help:   Google said in a statement that it shows ads in this way because it’s helpful for buyers and sellers.
    • Discrimination?:   The focus on Silicon Valley has prompted accusations from some in the U.S. that the EU is targeting American companies.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Will this affect transatlantic relations?
  • Understanding more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Google previously settled with U.S. enforcers in 2013 without a penalty after agreeing to change some of its search practices.