This will be a record breaking fine, the largest in the history of all monopoly abuse cases, and will more than likely exceed Intel’s 2009 fine of €1 billion.
The multinational company has been accused by the European Commissioner of abusing its market dominance. According to the commissioner, the company has been manipulating its search results to favour its new online shopping service which offers price comparisons on products.
The European Competition Regulator is now about to make the first of 3 antitrust decisions. EU officials are expected to announce the sanctions soon but no comment has been made by officials on when this decision will be made or how much exactly the company will be fined.
These sanctions follow an extensive seven year investigation by Brussels, as well as a variety of charges from the Commissioner, including an investigation into whether or not the company banned competitors from websites that used its search bar and adverts and an investigation into how the company pays and limits mobile phone providers who use the Android software and Google Play App Store.
Europe’s Competiton Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has been encouraged to take a tough stance on the case. Although there are fears of possible future transatlantic tensions, Vestager is unlikely to be swayed by this, breaking records for fines in the past including the €13 billion Apple tax bill.
A financial sanction for abuse of a monopoly position is capped at a maximum of 10% of the company’s total revenue. In the case of Alphabet, this was €90bn last year. It is calculated as up to 30% of Google’s shopping revenues multiplied by the number of years this abuse has been on going.
Google will also have a certain amount of time to propose how it plans on operating in the future. If a deal with the commission is not reached, Google can be fined up to 5% of their average daily turnover for each day they delay the decision.
Although Google are more than likely to appeal their case in the European courts, this will delay the case further by several years. Officials in Brussels have still not commented on the case.