Google Could Face Record €1 Billion Fine In EU Antitrust Case

The Google/European Union saga continues and could potentially lead to heavy consequences for Google. The corporation could face fines above €1 billion, with some estimating a fine as high as $1.4 billion USD. Google could also be forced to change how it manages its services and operations in the EU.

The EU currently has three cases against Google, which will all be resolved separately. This particular case insists that Google diverted traffic from competitors to its own shopping sites. The company is said to have used its online search to lead users to its own other services like restaurant recommendations or maps.

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Google has also been accused of paying smartphone OEMs to exclusively pre-install the Google search engine on devices. The EU wants to prevent the company from pressuring smartphone makers if it prevents from competing operating systems based on Android. Google has also been accused of using advertising to restrict the choices of its users.

These various court cases have led to a long discourse between the EU and Google. Google has been very vocal, particularly about the accusations regarding Android installations. Last autumn, the company noted that like Apple and Microsoft, Google offers a suite of apps that the smartphone producers can, but are not required, to use. Google also insisted that Android is one of the most open, flexible, and reliable platforms. And that it work hard with developers to help maintain a minimal compatibility with Android.

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The European Commission: Image from Sebastian Bertrand, Flickr

European Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will issue the final verdict for the current case, and has voiced her opinions on the matter before. Last spring she remarked, “Google’s behavior has harmed consumers by stifling competition and harming innovation in the wider Internet space." Google could be fined up to $7.4 billion, or one-tenth of its revenue, however, this is quite improbable. Google will likely appeal to the highest court, the European Court of Justice.