EU fine on Google welcome

EU fine on Google welcome

The imposition of a huge fine of $2.42 billion (about Rs 16,000 crore) by the European Union (EU) on Google for exploiting its virtual monopoly position in the search market is a welcome assertion of regulatory power over corporate greed and misdemeanour. It is also a reminder of the dangers to consumer freedom and choice in an era of multinational technology giants which promote and aggrandise themselves at the expense of consumers’ interests. The EU’s anti-trust watchdog found that Google had abused its dominant position in the search market in building its online shopping service, which denied other companies the chance to compete with it on a level playing field. Competitors in the shopping service market were disadvantaged because they were placed lower in the search results and Google’s services got greater visibility. The fine is about 2.5% of the annual revenue of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

It is not for the first time that such anti-trust action has been taken against big technology companies. The European Commission had pressured Intel and Microsoft through its rulings some years ago to open up their businesses to fair competition. These companies also had tried to use their dominance to make market access difficult for competitors. Brick and mortar companies too have fallen foul of anti-trust laws and rules. But violations by technology companies have been specially problematic because of their huge size and reach and the nature of their business and operations. Google is the dominant player not only in search and advertisement but in areas like map-based applications, operating systems and the app store. It is facing more legal action in some of these areas where it is accused of unfair practices like steering the market towards its own advertisement business. It is also likely that more complaints will be filed by other aggrieved competitors.


Anti-trust actions against monopolies create an environment of fair and healthy competition among companies. But the real beneficiary is the consumer who can exercise his freedom of choice without being hindered by the dominant companies’ influence which distorts the market. The consumer can thus make his judgment on the basis of the quality of the product or service or any other consideration which he decides important. Individual consumers, companies or even some nations cannot hope to secure and win their rights against some major technology companies. Companies like Google have an annual business bigger than the GDP of many countries even in the EU. These companies have made great contributions, but need to be checked when they act against public interest.

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