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Web Search Monopoly Abuse Results in Google Facing Record-Breaking Fine

Web Search Monopoly Abuse Results in Google Facing Record-Breaking Fine
As officials in Brussels put the finishing touches to a seven-year investigation of company’s dominant search engine, Google faces a record-breaking fine for monopoly abuse within weeks.
In what is being predicted to be a figure that would easily surpass its toughest anti-trust punishment to date, a €1.1bn fine levied on the microchip giant Intel, there are sources that have indicated to the media that the European Commission is aiming to hit Google with a fine in the region of €3bn.
While cautioning vehemently that Google’s bill for crushing competition online had not been finalized, sources close to the situation said EC officials could make their move as early as next month after aiming to make an announcement before the summer break.
The maximum possible is around €6.6bn, or a tenth of Google’s total annual sales.
According to analysts this announcement will mark a watershed moment in Silicon Valley’s competition battle with Brussels. While simultaneously relegating those of smaller rivals, denying them traffic, Google has already been formally charged with unlawfully promoting its own price comparison service in general search results.
A new investigation into alleged monopoly abuse related to Google’s Android smartphone software has allegedly further raised the stakes.
The possibility of further charges in other specialised web search markets such as travel information and maps was raised by Margarethe Vestager, the Competition Commissioner on Friday.
The fact that Google abused its monopoly on general web search over many years would likely be taken into account while deciding on the fine it faces over shopping comparison, legal sources said.
Changes to its algorithms during the investigation that made it even harder for competitors to thrive, as well as what some officials now see as its delaying tactics during the investigation would also be a part of the accusations against Google and the European Commission may also seek to make an example of it.
Google will be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm rivals apart from facing as a heavy fine. Google has sought to placate regulators with offers to redesign the presentation of results, a gambit that ultimately failed and has fiercely resisted such interference in its algorithms, the heart of its business.
Lawyers in Brussels said that Ms Vestager’s has brought a new, more aggressive style to the role even as Jaoquin Almunia, the previous Competition Commissioner sought ot agree to a deal on such changes without bringing formal charges.
Google’s arguments that because Amazon and eBay are successful competition is thriving online would be rejected by her fine.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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