The European Commission is about to tell Google to “stop its alleged anti-competitive practices” or else, according to a recent report by Reuters (via SEL.) Sources familiar with the matter say the EU antitrust case against Google’s parent company Alphabet is about to make the company pay up for abusing market position with their search engine.
According to the formal complaint, Google’s shopping experience via the search engine is an attempt to monopolize its services. Here are the official claims via the Statement of Objections:
- Google systematically positions and prominently displays its comparison shopping service in its general search results pages, irrespective of its merits.
- Google does not apply to its own comparison shopping service the system of penalties which it applies to other comparison shopping services on the basis of defined parameters, and which can lead to the lowering of the rank in which they appear in Google’s general search results pages.
- As a result of Google’s systematic favouring of its subsequent comparison shopping services “Google Product Search” and “Google Shopping”, both experienced higher rates of growth, to the detriment of rival comparison shopping services.
This is a similar case to one brought against Microsoft nearly seven years ago. With the tech giant’s dominant position, EU demanded that Microsoft pay a fine as large as €497 million ($796 million USD) all the way back in 2004. At that point, it was the largest fine asked for by the EU ever.
Now they are asking that Google hand over ten percent of the company’s global revenue. That’s about $9 billion dollars that Alphabet will need to pony up to the EU antitrust regulators, with a ruling expected in August. Google has been fighting the case, along with two others focusing on Adwords and Android OEM contracts, and will be able to appeal any rulings that are imposed.