Google is the first thing that strikes our mind when we talk about Internet search and it has been a dominating player in the search engine market against other competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Rediff, etc. But the search giant is being questioned by the European competition regulator and is awaiting a pending decision on the first of the 3 antitrust charges made against the group’s practices.
EU officials are anticipated to make a decision in the coming weeks on the case regarding Google’s abuse of its search market dominance to build its Shopping Service. Based on the decision, the search giant could likely end up paying a penalty of up to 1 billion Euros ($1.45 billion). The senior politicians in Berlin and Paris and top technology rivals in the European Union have been pushing the Europe’s Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager to take a tough decision in this case.
The EU officials are slightly concerned that any decision against the Silicon Valley Company may reignite transatlantic tensions similar to last year when Apple got a hefty tax bill of €13bn. EU officials are already unhappy regarding the withdrawal of United States from the Paris climate accord. Intel was charged a fine of €1bn in 2009 on a similar monopoly abuse case, but it’s expected that the penalty for Google could exceed that amount.
Mrs.Vestager has already broke the records for fines for last year with various antitrust cases in which she charged a €3bn cartel fine against five European truck makers and also €13bn tax bill on Apple. The search giant can be imposed a fine of up to 30% of the revenue obtained from its Google Shopping Service in Europe multiplied by the number of years of the abuse. Though Alphabet has enough cash balance to pay the fine, the question remains on how Google will operate online in future and how it can expand other businesses apart from its search.
The other investigation to be held against Google was to find out if Google used unfair means to ban competitors from websites that used its search and ads. There is also another case which investigates how Google will pay and limit the mobile phone providers that use its Android OS. Since 79% of the Europeans use Android phones, the decision on this case can very crucial for the future of Google’s mobile business in Europe. It should be noted that this investigation regarding Google’s misuse of its market dominance has been going on for more than 7 years. Both EU officials and Google’s representatives declined to comment further on the issue.