The European Union has given Google a stinging fine of €2.4 billion (£2.14 billion) for abusing its market dominant position by manipulating search results to favour its own price comparison services.
This, says the EU, denied consumers real choice and left rival companies unable to compete on a level playing field.
The markets expected Google’s stock to be hit and the share price duly slid as the US markets opened. But it seems that many investors are seeing this as a buying opportunity to either enter or get further into Google, which is preventing Google share price to slip too far.
Google was at a high of about $1004 earlier this month but has fallen back to the $960 over the last few weeks. It is currently trading at ¢961.55, down 1.08% on the day.
There may though be other repercussions as Google could face a number of law suits from businesses claiming that the search giant's anti-competitive practices harmed their online trade.
Jordan Hiscott, Chief Trader at ayondo markets said:
“There has been strong demand for Google stock in the opening 15 minutes of the US stock market today. This comes just hours after the tech giant was hit with a €2.4 billion fine from the EU for abusing its dominance of the search engine market.
“It seems investors and speculators are using the weakness as an opportunity to enter both new long positions, and increase any previously held ones.”
Tom Watson MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, commented:
“This ruling has been a long time coming and is a vindication of long running concerns about Google’s anti-competitive, unfair practices.
“When a company wields such power that it is effectively the gateway to the internet, it is the duty of regulators and lawmakers to verify that power is being exercised fairly. This ruling makes clear that Google shopping has not been operating fairly and could open the door to other investigations of similar examples of market distortion by the company.
“This ruling rights an unfair wrong, making this a good day for fair competition and consumers.”
Liberal Democrat Culture, Media and Sport spokesperson Christine Jardine said:
"This hefty punishment acts as a stark warning to others that search results must be fair to online retailers and ensure healthy competition.
"It shows that by acting together across Europe, we can hold global giants like Google to account and protect consumer rights and smaller businesses.
"This decisive action stands in sharp contrast to our own Conservative government, which has fallen over itself to offer a sweetheart tax deal to Google.
"It seems doubtful that this government would ever have the courage to stand up to major international businesses in this way post-Brexit."