Google's long-time battle with the European anti-trust commission ended today with the American company being slapped with a record $2.7 billion fine for gaming search results. The case had been investigated for around five years by the EU body and after years of legal arguments, the fine has finally been imposed. Additionally, Google has been given 90 Days to clean up their act regarding their search algorithm.

A landmark verdict

The case relates to Google's policy of gaming their comparison shopping results in such a way that shoppers in the European Union were only able to see products promoted by the company. The policy, which has now been deemed illegal, not only failed to give customers all shopping options but also hampered the businesses of retailers.

The head of EU's anti-trust commission Margrethe Vestager said "Google’s strategy for its comparison-shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals. 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."

The $2.7 billion fine might be a drop in the ocean for Google, which boasts of cash reserves of $90 billion but it needs to be noted that a large part of its revenues depends on these tactics and it remains to be seen how the company handles these issues going forward. The fine though is a record and has surpassed the 1.06 billion Euros fine that had been slapped on Intel back in 2009.

What the verdict entails

Having given Google a window of 90 days within which the company has to stop its 'illegal' practice, the anti-trust commission has also pointed out how they plan to penalize the company if it does not clean up its act.

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Google must inform the relevant authorities about its plans within 60 days and if it fails to comply with the verdict, then the company stands to attract even more severe fines. The fines in case of that eventuality have been set at up to 5% of the daily revenues of Google.

Google has, for a long time, been regarded as too powerful to confront by lawmakers but the latest verdict is proof that the company is not beyond legal sanctions. A German member of the European Parliament, however, lamented that it took a bit too long to come to a verdict and within that time Google must have profited from their policy of only promoting search results according to its own interests.