Moral Low Ground


Report: Google Faces Record €3 Billion EU Antitrust Fine

Googleplex, Google's Mountain View, California headquarters. (Photo: Robbie Shade/Flickr Creative Commons)

Googleplex, Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. (Photo: Robbie Shade/Flickr Creative Commons)

Google will soon be hit with a record-breaking fine for violating European antitrust laws, a leading British newspaper reported Sunday.

The Telegraph reports the European Commission is set to fine the Internet giant €3 billion ($3.4 billion) in the coming weeks for promoting its shopping service at the expense of rivals in online searches. The punishment would dwarf the previous record fine of €1.1 billion levied against microchip maker Intel in 2009.

The maximum penalty allowable under European law is around €6.6 billion, or 10 percent of Google’s annual sales. In addition to the fine, Google will be barred from future manipulation of self-favoring search results, the Telegraph said.

Google has previously been charged with illegally promoting its own price comparison service in search results while blocking traffic to smaller competitors, and a new investigation into alleged monopolistic abuse related to Google’s Android smartphone software has further damaged the company’s reputation in Europe.

In addition to antitrust violations, Google has previously run afoul of EU regulators over privacy issues, with the European Court of Justice ruling in 2014 that the Mountain View, California-based company could be forced to delete links to certain contested content about individuals on the Web, upholding the so-called “right to disappear.”

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