Google faces up to 30 lawsuits over European Union antitrust ruling

Joanna Estrada
June 19, 2017

The fine is coming after Google was accused of manipulating its search results to favor its own comparison-shopping service, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

A penalty in the shopping-search probe could come within weeks and many expect it to exceed a $1.2 billion fine on Intel Corp in 2009.

In line with European Union guidelines, the fine could potentially be priced at 10 percent of Google parent company Alphabet's annual revenue, which came to $90bn past year.

The decision from the regulator would, however, open the way for shopping comparison competitors or customers to file damages claims against Google.

The European Commission accuses Google of abusing its dominant position in the European search engine market.

That would be another show of strength by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who slapped Apple Inc with a 13 billioneuro ($14.5 billion) tax bill in August. These algorithms are designed and used by google to demote small businesses on it its search engine in an effort to force them to pay extortionate prices just to be visible on the search engine.

The unprecedented sanction, if tabled, follows a seven-year investigation by Brussels. A section of the rule being quoted here is the one that stipulates a fine as high as 10 percent on a company's revenue. Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. The Commission has warned of massive fines in both cases.

The EU's earlier record antitrust fine was against Intel in 2009, when it was slapped with a hefty fine of 1.06 billion euros or around 1.18 billion USA dollars.

Vestager's predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, made three attempts to resolve the dispute but in each case intense pressure by national governments, rivals and privacy advocates scuppered the effort.

Google is most likely to appeal the ruling to the European Court of Justice, which could take several years in the process. Meanwhile a third case is investigating how Google limits phone providers that use its Android operating system and its Google Play app store.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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