The European Union (EU) has decided to file formal antitrust charges against Google, which could end up with Google having to pay up to 10% of its annual revenues (about $6 billion based on last year’s financials), in what would be the biggest antitrust since Microsoft’s case more than ten years ago.
EU investigating Google’s market dominance
The EU has been carefully investigating Google’s dominance for more than five years, and there were rumours last month that it was going to file formal charges.
Europe isn’t too happy with Google’s business practices and has looked at the way it displays its own services compared to competitors, as well as how it uses content from other sites, dominance over advertising, and restrictions on how advertisers can move their campaigns to other search engines. Google currently has around 90% share of the search market in Europe.
The European Commission has asked for the formal complaints other companies have filed against Google to put together a Statement of Objections, and once filed the charged will then lead to more investigations and discussions about settlements.
If a settlement is not reached, the EU could issue penalties against the search giant, which would could fines and other restrictions – in other words, pretty bad news for the company. The European Parliament in fact voted to break up Google last year, although it can’t enforce that decision.
Reuters reports that the EU competition commission intended to make an official announcement today, thought hey have officially only said so far that “If there is a time for announcements it will be announced, but there is nothing on this question today”.
Is Google to dominant on the Internet? Should the US-based company pay fines for anticompetitive behaviour? As always, we love to hear your views, so let us know in the comments below.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal