EU Sets Out Groundwork for Antitrust Charges Against Google


The European Commission is set to file antitrust charges against Google in the next few weeks as a five-year-old investigation into the US internet search giant comes to a head. This follows allegations Google abused its position as the dominant search company.

Business Insider reports that the Commission  is asking companies who have filed confidential complaints against the company for permission to publish their complaints in a document known as a Statement of Objections.

If the EU and Google cannot reach a settlement, the Commission could potentially fine Google up to 10 percent of its annual revenue, which would amount to more than £4 billion ($6 billion), although the company will have the right to appeal to Europe’s highest court.

The action could be incredibly damaging for Google, even if it does not end up paying the fines, as it will have to spend a great amount of time and energy fighting the case. Previous companies fighting antitrust action have seen new products go through special legal reviews.

This is the latest in a series of assaults on the tech giant by the European Union. In November last year, the European Parliament passed a motion calling for Google to be broken up, saying it had become too big and was using its power in the market to unfairly hurt rivals.

Although the motion was non-binding, and the EU has no power to dissolve a company, it showed how much the institutions of the European Union distrust the large American tech firm.