Google Disputes £2.2 Billion Fine Over Anti-competitive E-commerce Practices
15 September 2017 - 10:12 by Mike Price
When Google was lumbered with a multibillion pound fine by EU regulators three months ago, a light was shone onto the world of shopping online and the role search engines play in dictating consumer trends.
Now the web giant has announced its intentions to appeal the ruling of the European Commission, according to the Independent. This will likely lead to more investigations and conjecture on the issue at hand, all while leaving vast amounts of cash and the future of e-commerce in the balance.
Regulators took issue with Google’s price comparison platform, which was seen as being counterproductive to competition in the online market as it was allegedly privileged in its own search results above comparable rival platforms, including Amazon.
Since millions of people in the UK and around the world rely on Google to act as their first port of call when carrying out shopping online, any evidence that results were being manipulated to put other firms in an inferior position was seen as damning. The £2.2 billion fine was intended to reflect this fact, although whether the US firm will ever end up paying any of it is now up for debate following the appeal.
Google was given a month and a half to reverse its problematic practices unearthed by regulators, or else face further punitive action. This deadline has yet to pass, but when it does it could end up forfeiting a not insignificant chunk of its global revenues to the EU.
From a consumer perspective, the idea that search engines should be held accountable for the nature of the results they provide is a useful one. Any sense of a particular service being biased towards other products offered by the same parent company might compromise trust in online shopping.