Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Google could receive second European Union fine topping $2.8B

Google could receive second European Union fine topping $2.8B

The EU is set to slap Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) with a multi-billion dollar USD fine in an antitrust ruling related to its widely popular Android mobile operating system.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the regulators are likely to make a judgement against Google in July, thereby forcing it to pay a significant fine-perhaps larger than the $2.8 billion fine it paid in Europe a year ago in a different case.

The EU competition enforcer will also tell Google to stop its anti-competitive practices such as licensing deals which prevent smartphone makers from promoting alternatives to apps such as Google Search and Maps.

According to reports in The Financial Times and Politico, European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager will announce her decision on the case in July.

Alphabet shares are down 0.9% to $1,136.22.

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Google may be hit with a second major penalty from European regulators over antitrust. At the time, the EC said that Google was demoting competitors' websites and ranking its own products higher in the search results. It remains to be seen whether USA officials will target Google in the same way that they did with Microsoft in the 1990s and AT&T in the 1980s. Tactics included requiring smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google Chrome browser in order to also access the Google Play app store. Ultimately, the European Union forced Microsoft to release a version of Windows without Media Player, leveling the playing field for competitors like Apple.

The investigation comes as Google and other large tech firms like Facebook, Amazon and Apple face a growing threat of stringent regulations and the chance of being broken up due to their dominant market share and powerful role in consumers' lives.

Part of this is thanks to Europe's aggressive targeting of Silicon Valley, which may prompt U.S. regulators to act too and target Google in the same way they broke up AT&T in the 1980s. Google later introduced changes in how it compares shopping offers in its search results.

In the meantime, the search giant is vigorously defending itself to avoid such an outcome. It is still appealing the charges that it favored its shopping comparison service over those of its competitors and is contesting the fine.

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