After a five year investigation into Google’s business practices, the European Union (EU) has announced that it will be bringing anti-trust charges against the search-engine giant for a number of anti-competitive policies the company has adopted in the Eurozone market.
Europe has strict anti-trust laws and tends to enforce them on foreign companies, as Microsoft learned earlier in the 2000s.
The EU and the European Commission made a joint decision to bring charges against Google, which they are claiming not only give priority to it’s own products and services in their search results, but also copies competitor’s website content without permission, sensors rival search-advertising services, and limits software developer’s marketing campaigns on non-Google platforms.
A fifth complaint is still being investigated which accuses the company of using it’s Android operating system on smartphones to force consumers to subscribe to subsequent services/software, such as their Google Play Store.
Google currently enjoys a 90 percent market-share of the Europe’s search-engine traffic, and is facing over $6 billion in fines in this case.
A court decision could come by the end of the year, but the company could further appeal any unfavorable ruling which would then drag the legal battle on for years in appeals court.
There is one other fact worth mentioning here which is that while a $6 billion fine sounds like a lot, it only accounts for about 10 percent of Google’s annual revenue.
A court ruling which finds the company guilty of violating anti-trust law will no doubt hurt, but they will survive no matter what happens in Europe.
[Wall Street Journal] [The Guardian]