Google to pay €2.42bn fine over unfair shopping search results

Google’s headquarters is in Mountain View Calif. The EU fined Google a record $2.7 billion in late June for breaking antitrust rules by skewing its general search results to unfairly favor its own shopping service over rival sites

"The Commission decision requires Google to stop its illegal conduct within 90 days of the decision and refrain from any measure that has the same or an equivalent object or effect".

Lobbying group ICOMP, whose members include Google rivals online mapping services Hot Map and Streetmap, as well as CEPIC (Centre of the Picture Industry) and TradeComet which owns a rival search engine, said regulators should publicise Google's proposal.

The announcement comes after the company was hit with a $2.6 billion fine on claims it's used its market dominance position to suppress competition from rival services.

Google places its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results - a practice the European Union has deemed illegal. Following that decision, Google said it "respectfully disagreed" with the EU's conclusions and would "review the Commission's decision in detail as we consider an appeal".

The onus is on Google to find a solution that satisfies regulators, who have learned from past battles with Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. Corp. Microsoft's failure to obey a 2004 antitrust order and charge reasonable fees for software licenses saw it fined 899 million euros four years later.

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A spokeswoman for the EU Commission on Competition confirmed to The Register that it received a plan from Google only a few hours shy of the deadline, at around 9pm CET on Tuesday August 29. Microsoft argued that its prices were fair and that it shouldn't have been compelled to give away patented innovation. Intel may finally receive clarity when the EU's top court rules on its legal challenge to a €1.06 billion fine on Sept 6. Though Google may appeal the decision, it would still face additional penalties for failing to abide.

The EU now has a month to check whether Google's planned changes will fit the bill. The fine came after a a probe by the EC that had been investigating Google Shopping since late 2010.

While Google's decision to comply with the ruling has been warmly received, critics have said that the EC should publish its full findings (which the comission said it would in June) and that Google should publish its proposals.

"These affect everyone in the online and mobile worlds so they must be made public for evaluation", ICOMP's Michael Weber said in a blog posting.

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