Google 'faces €1bn penalty' in EU antitrust case

A Google logo on the outside of one of its offices

The EU may fine Google up to 1 billion (876 million) for allegedly abusing its market dominance by favouring its Google Shopping service over other shopping platforms.

The penalty would draw the EU's seven-year antitrust investigation to a close, The Financial Times has revealed, relying on "two people familiar with the case".

While neither the EU nor Google have commented, this latest competition claim would be the first of three investigations into Google's antitrust case to come to a head.

This particular investigation is being led by Margrethe Vestager, Europe's competition commissioner, who has come under pressure from politicians in Paris and Berlin to look into the way Google operates and specifically, surfaces its Google Shopping results, which are paid for by organisations as a form as advertising.

Authorities claim this is an unfair way of operating, suggesting those who pay the giant will get more exposure compared to those that don't - even though Google's job as a search engine is to ensure the results it shows on its pages are fair and relevant to consumer searches.

Last year, Vestager slapped Google with a record-breaking 13 billion tax bill, which strained relations between the EU and US.

The 1 billion penalty would be the biggest fine to hit a technology company since Intel was fined 1.06 billion in 2009 for using illegal practices to convince computer makers to use its chips rather than those manufactured by competitors.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.