Google looks likely to appeal the hefty $2.7 billion fine it has been ordered to pay by the European Commission today.
The penalty is for "abusing [its] dominance as a search engine by giving illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service," according to an EC statement.
Google has been fighting the EC on this issue since the first complaints were made in 2010, and the internet giant continues to maintain that it is not doing anything wrong.
"We respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today," said a Google spokesperson. "We will review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case."
But Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in the EC statement that "Google abused its market dominance… It denied other companies the chance to compete on merit and to innovate. And… it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services."
She ruled that Google is cheating both its users and its advertisers, pointing out that Google "provides search results to consumers, who pay for the service with their data," and added "almost 90% of Google's revenues stem from adverts, such as those it shows consumers in response to a search query."
The EC has said that Google must "end the conduct" within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company.
Jules Bazley, VP-commercial development, Europe at affiliate marketing company CJ Affiliate said, "The ruling questions the independence of Google's search engine from its business interests, and [it] could make the public lose trust in Google's search results. As the company's biggest earner is still the ads it places alongside search results, it needs to make sure that user confidence in its search results is maintained."
"When you shop online, you want to find the products you're looking for quickly and easily," said the Google spokesperson. "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."