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EU fines Google record £2.1bn for abuse of power over shopping service
Internet search giant Google has been fined a record €2.42bn (£2.1bn) by the European Commission for abused of power by promoting its own shopping comparison service, Google Shopping, at the top of search results.
This is the largest ever penalty levied on a company accused of distorting the market.
It follows an investigation by the Commission that began in late 2010, following complaints by Microsoft as well as rival price comparison services.
Google was also ordered to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days or face a further penalty, which could amount to 5% of its parent company's global earnings.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU's Competition Commissioner, said Google had "denied other companies the chance to compete on their merits and to innovate, and most importantly it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation".
Google had used its dominance in search to give it an advantage in another market.
Ms Vestager has still to rule on related complaints about the prominence Google gives to its own maps, flight price results and local business listings.
Google said it did not accept the allegations. A spokesperson commented: "When you shop online, you want to find the products you're looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That's why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both.
"We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case."