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EU hits Google with record $2.7 billion antitrust fine

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European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager holds a news conference at the EU Commission's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

EU antitrust regulators hit Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google with a record 2.42-billion-euro ($2.7 billion) fine on Tuesday, indicating they will likely take a tough line with the company in two other ongoing cases.

The European Commission said the world’s most popular internet search engine has 90 days to stop favoring its own shopping service or face a further penalty of up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily global turnover.

The Commission found that Google had systematically given prominent placement in searches to its own comparison shopping service and demoted those of rivals in search results.

“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,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The action came after a seven-year long investigation prompted by scores of complaints from rivals such as U.S. consumer review website Yelp (YELP.N), TripAdvisor (TRIP.O), UK price comparison site Foundem, News Corp (NWSA.O) and lobbying group FairSearch.

This is the biggest fine for a single company in an EU antitrust case, exceeding a 1.06-billion-euro sanction handed down to U.S. chipmaker Intel (INTC.O) in 2009.

Reuters, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 27, 2017

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