The European Union on Wednesday formally accused Google of abusing its dominant power in web search in violation of antitrust laws. Google's search engine is one of the most powerful and valuable algorithms ever developed, and it's one of the most closely guarded corporate secrets. However, the company was charged with breaking EU rules and abusing its internet search monopoly, where it controls 95 percent of the market. The company faces a $2.7bn fine.

The record-breaking fine marks the culmination of a seven-year investigation by the European Commission into Google's online activities.

We really have a clash between a new set of technology and their business models and a set of laws, which were pretty much drafted 50-60 years ago to deal with the monopolies of the 20th century.

Simon Evenett, professor, St Gallen University, Switzerland

The Commission says the company used its position as the world's most popular search engine to unfairly promote its Google Shopping service at the expense of smaller price comparison sites.

European regulators have given the tech giant 90 days to stop its illegal activities. If it fails to do so, Google's parent company, Alphabet, faces fines that amount to nearly five percent of its average daily worldwide turnover. That's around $14m a day.

Google's business model, like other tech giants, "often involve outmanoeuvring their rivals and forcing them out of the market - either explicitly or implicitly," explains professor Simon Evenett from St Gallen University in Switzerland.

"This type of strategy runs straight into the face of EU law on dominant firms. There's a real tension between the law and the strategies of these Silicon Valley firms, and this is the latest example of a US company that's got caught up in it," he says.

On whether the EU is unfairly targeting the tech titans of our age, Professor Evenett says: "I don't think they're unfairly targeting it. They have their law to enforce and their law is pretty tough on large dominant firms who try and exercise market power, so they feel like they're enforcing the law. Of course, the tech titans think they're bringing us all sorts of great consumer goods and services, and I know where they're coming from."

Also on this episode of Counting the Cost:

Taxing India: India's biggest tax reform since independence puts the country's administration to the test. For the first time since independence, India is a single market for manufactured goods. It has shifted from a state-based to a unified tax system. The goods and services taxes, or GST, went into place at the stroke of midnight on July 1. It is one of the most ambitious economic changes India has ever attempted. C

ould this be a defining moment for the world's fastest growing economy?

Rajiv Biswas, chief economist for the Economics & Country Risk group at IHS Markit discusses the implications of this tax. 

Facebook: Thirteen years after launching, Facebook now has two billion monthly active users - a milestone for the social media giant. But what does founder Mark Zuckerberg mean when he talks about responsibility?

Global sand shortage: Sand is the most mined material in the world and there's a shortage of it. Rob Reynolds reports from Los Angeles, California.

Financial birthdays: In recalling this week's financial birthdays, the automatic teller machine turns 50, the iPhone turns 10, and it was exactly 10 years ago this month when the first signs of what's now dubbed the Great Financial Crisis started to show.

Source: Al Jazeera