The Internet giant has been ordered to change its practices or face further financial penalties.
Google has been hit with a record fine of $2.7 billion after the European Commission found it violated antitrust regulations by manipulating search results.
The company must change its behavior within 90 days, or additional penalties will be forthcoming, CNN reports. European Union regulators said Google denied consumers “a genuine choice” by giving priority placement in search results to its own shopping platform, while demoting results of a rival comparison shopping service.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” said the EU’s top antitrust official, Margrethe Vestager. “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.”
Vestager said Google’s competitors could claim compensation in national courts within the EU.
In a statement, Google said it shows ads in ways helpful to both buyers and sellers.
“We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case.”
Google faced a fine of up to 10% of annual sales, or about $9 billion. The $2.7 billion penalty represents a little more than 2.5% of its 2016 revenue. Still, it dwarfs the previous EU record fine of $1.2 billion on Intel in 2009.
If Google fails to end its censured behavior, it faces additional penalties of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet for each day of non-compliance.
EU regulators have been accused of anti-American bias following actions against Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Nike. But Vestager said an analysis of investigations her department has launched found that U.S. companies were not being disproportionately targeted.