Kent Walker, senior vice president and general counsel at Google, said in a statement that Google disagrees with the Commission's decision, and he argued that Google's search practices are aimed at providing users with the best experience rather than pushing them to Google's services.
Google adopted the same practice in all 13 EU countries where it unveiled its shopping service, the European Commission says, starting with Germany and the United Kingdom in 2008 and, most recently, with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden in late 2013. The EU Executive did bot propose the method to the company, but is expecting more information on what Google is planning to choose as a remedy within 60 days.f this is not the case the company risks fines of up to 5 % of its daily revenue.
The EU antitrust chief said Google had illegally taken advantage of its juggernaut position in the world of search engines, pushing users toward its comparison shopping service and advertisers over those of rivals. This means that other small players no longer have a fair chance to attract customers for the same products as the results are already biased towards Google. "And most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition".
European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager described the action as "illegal under European Union antitrust rules".
Google now had 90 days to "end this conduct" or face further penalty payments, Vestager said.
The fine is the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behaviour, exceeding a 1.06-billion-euro ($1.56-billion) penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009.
Google maintained it was just trying to package its search results in a way that made it easier for consumers to find what they wanted.
"We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today", Walker stated. The commission did not specify what changes Google had to make.
It also found that Google deliberately demoted rival products, abusing its market dominance. "It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets".
"We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case", he said.
We think our current shopping results are useful and are a much-improved version of the text-only ads we showed a decade ago. We are writing to express our support for the Commission's enforcement action against Google. "We are still looking into this, but now we'll do that on the basis of finding Google to be the dominant company", the Commissioner said.
The decision comes less than a year after Vestager shocked Washington and the world with an order that iPhone manufacturer Apple repay €13bn in back taxes in Ireland.