Google Faces Record EU Antitrust Fine, Search Limits: Telegraphby
European antitrust authorities will impose a record fine on Google in coming weeks for abusing its dominance of the online search market in the region, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.
The European Commission is planning to fine the world’s largest Internet search provider about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), the newspaper said. That would surpass its toughest antitrust punishment to date, a 1.1 billion-euro fine levied on Intel Corp., the largest semiconductor maker.
European authorities also will ban Google from continuing to manipulate search results to favor itself and harm rivals, the Telegraph reported. The company has resisted forced changes to its algorithms and offered alternatives such redesigned presentations of search results.
EU officials, led by Margrethe Vestager, plan to announce the fines and restrictions as early as June, the newspaper said, citing unidentified sources close to the situation. Those sources cautioned that fine has not been finalized, the Telegraph added, while noting the maximum possible is about 6.6 billion euros, or a 10th of Google’s annual sales.
The move would be a blow to Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., which has fought European antitrust charges for seven years. Europe’s main focus has been Google’s shopping search service, which regulators argued the company favored over competitors in its general search results. But Google faces other probes in the region, including into its Android mobile operating system.
A spokesman for Google didn’t immediately return an e-mail from Bloomberg seeking comment Sunday.