Google to reportedly face record fine in first European Union search practice probe

Google to reportedly face record fine in first European Union search practice probe

The EC accused Google - owned by parent group Alphabet - in April 2015 of distorting internet search results to favour its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers.

Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment, but has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Google faces the prospect of a record-breaking fine of over €1bn from the European Union following an investigation into the web giant's market dominance and the way it operates.

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If enacted, the fine is expected to break the record for a monopoly abuse case, topping the 1 billion (then $1.45 billion) fine handed out to chipmaker Intel in 2009, the FT said, citing two people familiar with the case. It is calculated as up to 30% of Google's shopping revenues multiplied by the number of years of the anti-competitive behaviour. If it fails to agree a deal with the commission in that period, the company could be fined up to 5% of average daily turnover for each day of delay.

The European Commission and Google declined to comment on the investigation outcome. This is denied by the commission. The previous competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia gave in to pressure from states and Google competitors and did not settle the case. After hearing the company's response, the commission narrowed the charge list a year later. "As we said previous year in our response to the Commission's original Statement of Objections (SO), we believe these claims are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics", he wrote. A decision should be announced in the coming weeks, although Google can still appeal it.

The decision from the regulator would, however, open the way for shopping comparison competitors or customers to file damages claims against Google. Meanwhile a third case is investigating how Google limits phone providers that use its Android operating system and its Google Play app store.

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