EU searches for huge penalty in Google antitrust case

Google’s record fine from European Union. Euro competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said to return result in June.

Google European Union
Credit: Johannes Jansson (cc:by)

Google will be fined €3 billion by the European Union (about $3.4B). Or so say secret sources close to the Euro trading-bloc-cum-federation, which has been investigating the search 'monopoly' since 2009.

[Developing story: Updated 9:29 am PT with more comment, and again to fix misstatement in lede]

Margrethe Vestager is also working on two more antitrust complaints. So search might not be the end of it for la GOOG.

Yes, the great Dane is slowly sinking her teeth into Google's cash pile. Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers' heads spin with record fines. Not to mention: ALEKTO

What’s the craic? Christopher Williams brings the bad news for Mountain View—Google faces record-breaking fine:

Google faces a record-breaking fine for monopoly abuse [after] a seven-year investigation of engine. ... The European Commission is aiming [for] a fine in the region of [$3.4 billion] early as next month.

The likely to take account of the fact that Google abused its monopoly...over many years. ... The stakes have been further raised by a new investigation into...Android.

Google will [also] be banned from continuing to manipulate search results. ... Google declined to comment.

Remind us of the background? Steven Musil reports about the reporting of a record EU antitrust fine:

Google may face a record antitrust fine...according to the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph. ... Google and the European Union have [battled] over search for six years. ... The EU claims that Google has abused its [monopoly by] unfairly prioritizing its shopping services.

Is $3.4 billion a lot? Carly Page turns to the obvious comparison: [You're fired -Ed.]

[It] would overtake the previous record of [$1.5 billion] on chip-maker Intel in 2009. ... Google has long denied [it] harms online competition.

This isn't the only legal issue Google faces in Europe. The EC [also] accuses Google of abusing its dominant pre-installing its own services and apps on Android smartphones.

And that's not all. According to Aoife White, Vestager Considers Third Antitrust Case:

European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager may open a third front... as she studies whether to escalate a probe into [AdWords]. ... "I hope that we can end that or come to a preliminary conclusion," Vestager said.

[It] could affect Google’s revenue stream more than either of the other two probes. ... Most of Google’s $74.5 billion 2015 revenue came from advertising.

And it's not just Europe. Or so say Nancy Scola's Sources:

[The FTC is] asking questions again about whether Google has abused its dominance. ... Senior antitrust officials at the FTC have discussed the matter in recent months...according to sources.

Critics complain that Google...treat[s] competitors unfairly [saying] that Google [is not] a neutral gateway to information.

Where the agency goes from here is unclear. ... An FTC spokesperson said...“we do not comment on an investigation or the existence of an investigation.”

Update: What we need now is a self-described "thought leader". Scott Cleland is up to his usual schtick-The Trust Ramifications:

The long-term ramifications for Google will be...more serious than most appreciate. ... Google has long maintained it...has done nothing wrong...undergirding the public’s trust in Google. [But] the EU will be ruling...Google is in fact a monopoly that has done wrong.

Google has long fundamentally misrepresented its business model to the public. ... The expected EU ruling will conclude that...what Google be not. Google lied. ... It cuts to the heart of...what it promises to be...and its public claims of neutrality and objectivity.

Essentially, the EU says Google is preventing competition. Windwalker Rangel tweets his disappointment:

bull**** charge since people can choose. ... EU has become a money farm.

Well, €3B can buy a lot of Euro-pork. But People can indeed choose, as silvanet points out:

I can use any browser I want & any search engine as well - monopoly how??? ... Is this a EU thing?

And Finally…

"ALEKTO"—by Michael Mehring & Thomas Kaufmann

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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