The European Union is making preparations for filing a formal antitrust charge against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) on the basis of the premise that the dominance of the search market in Europe is being abused by making a promotion of its own products ahead of the competition in the shopping application of Google.
If found guilty, Google would have to pay 10% of its turnover as fine. The turnover of Google is $60 billion and the potential fine might be around $6billion. However, it would fight the case in case the penalty is applicable. Even though a fine is levied, the largest fine that was applicable by the EU to Intel was 4.5%.
Court battle might be seen in case there are statement of objections, which is the first step of the process. A time limit of 10 weeks has been given to Google to respond and this includes a request for oral hearing. In a memorandum to the employees, Google explained that their case was very strong and had good arguments.
One reason why Google has this confidence of positive outcomes is because Google has already been investigated by North American FTC on the basis of the same information that the EU has and it didn’t end up fining Google. The Federal Trade Commission stated that there was a close coordination with the parallel European investigation. The regular phone calls between the European Commission and the FTC are yet to be understood. Now these 2 bodies have different remits of course and different results may be produced by any investigation.
In one statement, member of the European Commission who issues a statement of objection, Margrethe Vestager stated that the commission doesn’t want to interfere with the design of Google or search the algorithm.
Instead, the European Commission wants Google to put relevant shopping results at the top of search pages.