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AP

European antitrust officials slapped Google with a massive $2.7 billion fine on Tuesday for abusing its search practices, more than double what was expected.

This has been a long time coming: smaller firms like Yelp and have spent several years lobbying the EU to act as U.S. regulators have been reluctant to take on Google.

In a statement, competition regulators say Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine to steer customers to its own Google Shopping platform. The company has 90 days to pay up or will face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet (Google's parent company). Google says they think the EU undervalues Google's shopping and search experience for consumers, arguing that its success doesn't mean it favors itself — "it's the result of hard work and constant innovation."

Why it matters: In Europe, the tech titans are facing rising scrutiny: European regulators — whose countries have lost the game of tech, pipes and content — are getting aggressive in trying to constrain the behemoths. The latest penalty represents rising tensions between E.U. regulators and U.S. tech giants. The fine, while much larger than expected, won't make that much of a dent in Google's bank account. The bigger concern for Google is that the EU regulators' aggressive move will nudge U.S. counterparts to take a closer look at industry dynamics and whether the dominant tech firms use their growing troves of data and increasingly sophisticated algorithms to skew competition more broadly. A strong rebuke from Brussels will be noticed by influential Trump administration officials who are already interested in reigning in the power of tech giants like Google.

What's next: Google said it's reviewing the decision and considering an appeal.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.