The European Commission found that Google failed to give users “a genuine choice” when it surfaced results pointing to its own shopping platform ahead of others. The case dates to 2010, but the decision was reached this week.
The Commission concluded that Google “gave prominent placement in its search results only to its own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services. It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets.”
By ranking Google Shopping service ahead of other competitors, Google was able to significantly increase the amount of traffic to the previously ailing service, thereby generating more clicks and revenue. Meanwhile, other companies were bumped down the list and saw traffic levels drop.
The EU’s top antitrust official, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement:
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.