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In Shopping Case By August, Google Faces Hefty EU Fine: Reuters

In Shopping Case By August, Google Faces Hefty EU Fine: Reuters
On the issue of shopping service, Alphabet unit Google is probably going to be slapped by a hefty fine by EU antitrust regulators even before the summer break in August, reported news agency Reuters citing information from two people who were familiar with the matter.
This sets the stage for two other cases involving the U.S. company.
Triggered by scores of complaints from both U.S. and European rivals, a seven-year investigation into the world's most popular internet search engine resulted in the decision by the European Commission.
To favour its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers, the EU competition authority accused Google in April 2015 of distorting internet search results.
The Commission and Google declined to comment.
Saying that regulators ignored competition from online retailers Amazon and eBay Inc., the U.S. company has in the past rejected the charges.
Since 10 percent of their global turnover can be the fines for companies that are found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules. This can be about $9 billion of its 2016 turnover in Google's case.
While it is not clear what measures it will order the company to adopt to ensure that rivals get equal treatment in internet shopping results, the Commission will tell Google to stop its alleged anti-competitive practices apart from the fine.
An observer reportedly said that specific instructions or general principles could not be set out for Google to follow by the regulator.
By requiring Google to stop "scraping" reviews and other data from rival websites for its own products, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission which settled its own web search case with the company in 2013 and the Commission's tough line is in sharp contrast to that standpoint.
In a bid to stave off a possible fine and a finding of wrongdoing with the previous European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, Google made three unsuccessful attempts to settle the case.
No willingness to settle with Google has been shown by Almunia's successor Margrethe Vestager.
Blocking competitors in online search advertising related to its "AdSense for Search" platform and using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals are the other charges that the company has faced.
For or websites such as online retailers, telecoms operators or newspapers, the platform allows Google to act as an intermediary. The Commission has warned of massive fines in both cases.
On the other hand, increasing the risk of a lengthy investigation into the deal, EU antitrust regulators said on Friday that the U.S. smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm has not offered any concessions so far in its $38-billion bid for NXP Semiconductors.
To propose concessions to allay possible competition concerns over the biggest-ever deal in the semiconductor industry, Qualcomm, which supplies chips to Android smartphone makers and Apple, had until June 1.
The EU competition authority can either clear the deal unconditionally or open an investigation lasting up to four months after its preliminary review of the deal ends on June 9.
Convincing the regulators that the deal was not anti-competitive was seemingly failed by Qualcomm during an investigation. It might have to offer concessions failing that.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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