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EU likely to slap Google with record-breaking fine

By Ians English

London, June 17: Search engine giant Google is likely to face a record-breaking fine from Brussels of nearly $1.1 billion for manipulating its search engine results to favour its new shopping service. EU officials are expected to announce in the coming weeks whether the tech giant has been guilty of abusing its market dominance.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a product event. PTI file photo

"In July last year, the commission had reiterated its belief that the search giant had abused its dominant position by systematically favoring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages," the report said.

Google's competitors, Paris and Berlin-based senior politicians as well have been encouraging the European commission's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager to take a tough action against Google.

"A financial sanction for abuse of a monopoly position is capped at a maximum of 10 per cent of the total revenues of the company involved," the report noted.

In the case of Google's parent company Alphabet, the sanction was $90 billion last year which is calculated as up to 30 per cent of Google's shopping revenues multiplied by the number of years of the anti-competitive behaviour.

Google will be required to propose how it intends to build its shopping business in future and if it fails to agree on a deal with the commission in set time period, the company could be fined up to 5 per cent of average daily turnover for each day of delay.

Another investigation considers if Google has unfairly banned competitors from websites that used its search bar and adverts.

It is also being examined how Google pays and limits mobile phone providers who use its Android software and Play app store.

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

In the past, Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon raising claims that Brussels is waging war against Silicon Valley, however, the European regulators have denied such claims.


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