Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

EU Commission Officials Announce Multi-Billion Euro Fine in Google Antitrust Case

EU's War On Business Continues With A $2.7 Billion Fine On Google Google draws $2.7B antitrust fine
Frank Williams | 29 June, 2017, 21:54

The European Commission fined Google €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) for abusing its market dominance by favoring its own comparison shopping service in search results.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of European Union competition policy, said: "Google has come up with many innovative products and services that have made a difference to our lives". He estimates that Google Shopping generates revenues of between US$3.5bn and US$4bn in Europe every year. However, this penalty isn't the only thing Google has to pay as it has been ordered to eradicate its anti-competitive practices within a time period of 90 days.

The EU ruling is a warning shot for two on-going EU probes into Google's Android mobile operating system and AdSense ad system, said Richard Windsor, an independent financial analyst who tracks competition among the biggest USA and Asian internet and mobile players, including Google.

"The Commission's decision will finally put a stop to that abusive conduct, and it will enable those competitors that have survived despite Google's behaviour, as well as new entrants, to compete on the merits and offer results that serve European consumers and not just Google", said Thomas Vinje, the organisation's spokesperson and legal counsel.

He also notes that Google is likely to face civil action from European competitors which have been impacted by its actions.

The EU had published its own textual proposal on competition policy in that process, including on how the two sides might deal with anti-competitive practices such as abuse of market power in both their national legislation and in bilateral cooperation. According to Google, Amazon and eBay are now the biggest shopping services used by the general public over the internet.

A deeper concern for analysts is that Vestager will continue bringing charges on other slices of Google search that have evolved dramatically, like maps and travel.

Jason Statham Welcomes First Baby With Supermodel Rosie Huntingon-Whiteley
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The amount of Google's European Union fine was based on the amount of revenue the company generated from its Shopping search results and the length of time regulators believe the company took advantage of its dominance as a search engine.

Google says consumers like its shopping thumbnails because they are concise and convenient.

While U.S. presidential candidate Trump bandied about the "antitrust" word in reference to Amazon, which is owned by one of his most prominent tech industry critics, Jeff Bezos, it's somewhat doubtful that President Trump will eschew his business-friendly political platform and go after big tech firms who employ tens of thousands of highly-paid workers in the U.S.

This raises the prospect of a Europe-US split in which large tech companies, most of which are headquartered in the USA, are forced to change the way they operate in Europe while keeping their modus operandi the same across the pond. This has been the case since at least 2008 which is the period which was investigated by the Commission. Vestager promised Google would have to endure years of monitoring to ensure compliance with the decision.

The Android probe questions how the company bundles Search and its other services on mobile devices, a crucial pillar for its ad business, media sales and huge future bets on voice-based computing.

"I have been going through the statistics..."

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