CALIFORNIA, U.S. - EU officials are reportedly expected to announce heavy fines on the search engine giant Google that is facing allegations of abuse of its market dominance.
The tech giant could receive a record penalty of 1 billion euros for favouring its own service in its search result pages.
EU officials are reportedly expected to announce that the tech giant has been guilty of manipulating its search engine results to favour its new Google Shopping service, which offers price comparisons on products, in the coming weeks.
According to reports, if the unprecedented sanction is indeed tabled - it would conclude a seven-year investigation by Brussels.
In July last year, the commission had reiterated its belief that the search giant had “abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages.”
The European Commission has declined to comment on the size of the fine or the potential timing of any formal announcement.
Even Google has not made any official comments so far.
According to a report in The Financial Times, the commission was looking at topping the penalty of 1 billion euros handed out to chipmaker Intel in 2009, over its anticompetitive behaviour.
Further, reports noted that senior politicians in Paris and Berlin, along with Google’s competitors, have been encouraging the European commission’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager to take a tough line on the search engine giant.
EU’s action would come after it decided to force Apple to pay Ireland 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes as a consequence of the regulator finding that the tech giant’s tax regime in Ireland had been a form “illegal state aid.”
As per rules, a financial sanction for abuse of a monopoly position is capped at a maximum of 10 percent of the total revenues of the company involved.
Since the year 2000, European regulators have investigated Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, raising claims that Brussels is waging war against Silicon Valley - however, the commission has denied this.
Last year, Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker said in a blogpost that the EU’s case lacked evidence.
Now, reports estimate that the company is likely to appeal in the European courts, delaying a resolution to the case for years.