BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission handed down a record 2.42 billion euro ($2.73 billion) fine to Alphabet unit Google on Tuesday for breaching EU antitrust rules after a seven-year investigation prompted by complaints from both sides of the Atlantic.
The following is a summary of the EU decision and Google’s other regulatory issues.
The fine represents 3 percent of Alphabet/Google’s turnover in 2016. The biggest sanction prior to that was U.S. chipmaker Intel’s 1.06 billion euro fine in 2009.
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.
The Commission wants the company to stop that, or face additional non-compliance payments of five percent of Alphabet’s average daily global turnover.
The action came after a seven-year long investigation prompted by scores of complaints from rivals such as U.S. consumer review website Yelp, TripAdvisor, UK price comparison site Foundem, News Corp and lobbying group FairSearch.
Google may choose to appeal in EU courts, but Intel, the previous antitrust fine record holder, has waited seven years for a final judgment on its appeal.
Google remains under Commission investigation in two other cases. These concern its Android mobile operating system, where the company is charged with “requiring and incentivising” manufacturers to prioritize its apps and web services, and Google’s “AdSense for Search” platform, allegedly used to restrict search ads from rivals.
Google and other US-based internet companies face increasing scrutiny and regulation from the EU regarding user privacy and data storage, most recently on messaging, email and voice services.
The EU largely expects greater cooperation from tech companies on cyber security and counter-terrorism. Last week’s European Council Summit called for the industry to step up efforts to remove extremist content and disrupt communication support for terrorist acts.
On Monday, Facebook , Google’s YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft responded with the announcement of a Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.
The Commission has a number of ongoing cases involving technology giants, notably Qualcomm which was accused in 2015 of using financial incentives and predatory pricing to force out competition. In early June, the Commission opened an additional investigation into Qualcomm’s $38 billion bid for NXP Semiconductors.
($1 = 0.8877 euros)
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Elizabeth Miles, editing by Pritha Sarkar