The Oasis Reporters
June 24, 2017
If there’s a fine that would leave no dent on the bottom line of Google, the foremost internet search engine, it is this one.
Only that the penalty is likely to leave a bigger dent in Google’s pride and reputation.
Unlike MTN Nigeria, foremost mobile operator in the West African biggest economy , Nigeria, which almost buckled under a fine in billions of naira by Nigeria’s Mobile Phone networks regulator, the NCC.
MTN got angry enough and fired all employees that started the company with them as pioneer workers some 17 years ago, losing experienced staff in one fell swoop.
Google’s case is different.
It is stupendously wealthy. Financially, Alphabet has more than $92 billion (82 billion euros) in cash, including nearly $56 billion (50 billion euros) in accounts outside of Europe.
European regulators said on Tuesday that “Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, it’s comparison shopping service.”
The EU gave the Mountain View, California, company 90 days to stop or face fines of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet.
The European Commission, which polices EU competition rules, alleges Google puts on a higher pedestal it’s shopping service even when other options might have better deals.
The Commission said Google “gave prominent placement in its search results only to it’s own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services. It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets.”
In defense, Google maintains it is just trying to package its search results in a way that makes it easier for consumers to find what they want.
“When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both,” Kent Walker, senior vice president at Google, said in a statement.
“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.
The fine is the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behavior, exceeding a 1.06 billion euros penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009.