The European Commission is preparing to levy a fine of more than €1bn against internet giant Google following an anti-trust investigation over allegations of bias in its Google Shopping service.
The Financial Times claims that an announcement will be made "in the coming weeks" and added that Google is facing fines of "more than €1 billion", which could be even more than the €1.06 fine levied against Intel back in May 2009.
The ruling would mark the end of a seven-year investigation into Google's Shopping comparison service. The European Commission believes that Google promoted its own services at the expense of rivals' to the "detriment of consumers", and that this "stifles innovation" in the online shopping market.
Although yet to comment on this latest report, Google has always denied any wrongdoing. Last November argued that EC's arguments lack factual and legal basis and have a skewed vision of how people shop online.
Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, said in a blog post: "We never compromised the quality or relevance of the information we displayed. On the contrary, we improved it. That isn't 'favouring' - that's listening to our customers," he said.
Walker also noted that the European Commission has not considered the likes of eBay, social media websites and Amazon, which he described as "by far the largest player on the field".
"Our response demonstrated that online shopping is robustly competitive, with lots of evidence supporting the common sense conclusion that Google and many other websites are chasing Amazon," he said.
The European Commission had previously argued that Amazon couldn't be considered a rival because it sometimes paid shopping comparison sites for referral traffic.
"Consumers don't just look for products on a search engine, then click on a price comparison site, and then click again to visit merchant sites," Walker said.
"They reach merchant websites in many different ways: via general search engines, specialist search services, merchant platforms, social media sites and online ads served by various companies."
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