The European Commission has on 27 June 2017 fined Google EUR 2.42 billion for abuse of dominance as a search engine by favoring its own comparison shopping service in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Google has 90 days to end this practice or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented "What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation."

The Commission has concluded that Google is (and has been since 2008) dominant in general internet search markets in the EEA with the exception pf the Czech Republic where Google has been dominant only since 2011. Google has abused this dominant position by illegally advantaging its own comparison shopping service (starting since 2008 in the UK and Germany, in 2010 in France, Italy and the Netherlands, in 2011 in Spain, in 2013 in the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden).

According to the Commission, Google's conduct has significantly restricted competition and disadvantaged rival services. Since the beginning of each abuse, Google's comparison shopping service has increased its traffic 45-fold in the United Kingdom, 35-fold in Germany, 19-fold in France, 29-fold in the Netherlands, 17-fold in Spain and 14-fold in Italy. Following the demotions applied by Google, traffic to rival comparison shopping services on the other hand dropped significantly. For example, the Commission found specific evidence of sudden drops of traffic to certain rival websites of 85% in the United Kingdom, up to 92% in Germany and 80% in France. These sudden drops could also not be explained by other factors. Some competitors have adapted and managed to recover some traffic but never in full.

In addition to this decision, the Commission is also investigating Google's practices in several other cases, in at least two of which a finding of a dominant position has already been made.

Source: Commission Press release 27.6.2017