Thursday 22 February 2018

Google faces huge fine 'of over €1bn' in landmark EU case against its practices

Google's Dublin offices
Google's Dublin offices Business Desk

Google may be facing a fine of over €1bn as the European competition regulator is about to make the first of three antitrust decisions about the group's practices.

The sanction would mark the first against the search engine's operations by a leading regulator.

According to the Financial Times (FT), officials in Brussels are expected to say that the firm abused its search market dominance to build its Google Shopping service in a matter of weeks.

In 2009, Intel was handed a €1bn abuse - but the penalty for Google is set to exceed that, the paper reports.

The European Commission and Google declined to comment on the investigation outcome.

While Europe’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has been encouraged to take a tough stance on the case, there are fears that a hard decision may stoke transatlantic tensions.

President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord has already made the US-Europe bond vulnerable.

However, Ms Vestager is unlikely to be swayed based on potential political tensions.

Last summer, she broke records for fines, with a €3bn cartel fine against five European truckmakers and on the €13bn Apple tax bill.

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