WHAT IT IS
- June, 2017: EU Antitrust regulators hit Alphabet unit Google with a 2.42 billion-euro (2.7 billion) fine.
- Regulators charged that Google uses prominent placement in searches to boost its own comparison shopping service and to demote rivals.
- The fine is equivalent to three percent of Alphabet’s turnover, making it the biggest regulatory setback for Google.
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.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- Shares in Alphabet fell 1.5% in pre-market trading in New York.
- Other American firms including Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have come under increased scrutiny in Europe on issues related to tax and competition.
- The EU is expected to dig deeper into other aspects of Alphabet’s company including AdSense and Android.
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.