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Google faces first EU fine

by on02 May 2016

No deal in site

Google is heading for a huge European Union antitrust fine this year and it does not seem to have come up with a face-saving deal.

The problem is over Google's shopping service and the spat has been running for nearly six years.  The fine could  precedent for Google searches for hotels, flights and other services. More important it tests regulators' ability to ensure diversity on the Web.

This fine will not be the last either. Google, which was hit by a second EU antitrust charge this month for using its dominant Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals, shows little sign of backing down  The reason is that Google does not really want to settle allegations that its Web search results favor its own shopping service and hopes the EU will back down.

This is unlikely. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager showing little interest in reaching a settlement where there is no finding of wrongdoing or a fine against Google. This is because the Commission has had a gutsful of complaints from companies, big and small, on both sides of the Atlantic.

It can't help that Google does its best to pay low tax on is stonking profits.  It can't even tell the EU it helps the economy with its current business plan.

Google has consistantly denied any wrongdoing. Cynics think it might be dragging out the case and continuing its practices for as long as possible, and ultimately paying a fine that will be smaller than the profits it generates by continuing the conduct.

Microsoft has also tried taking on the EU and suffered. Some think that the mega-fine that the EU delivered to Redmond might have actually shocked it out of its Evil Empire plans and helped it reform into a half-way reasonable company.

It cost Microsoft $2.5 billion after a decade-long battle with the Commission. It is believed that the Google cases will be much higher.


Last modified on 02 May 2016
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