Internet giant Google has been fined a record €2.42 billion (NZ$3.7 billion) by the European Union after a seven-year investigation into allegations it was abusing its monopoly over internet searches.
The huge fine has been handed out over the company’s breaking of an EU competition law. Prosecutors argued that Google was using its dominant search engine force to promote its online shopping service ahead of others.
It now has 90 days to stop breaking the rules, or face further fines – which could cost billions more.
“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
“And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
The fine is twice as much as the previous largest fine, which was handed down to Intel in 2009.