Google may have dodged an antitrust case in the United States, but the Internet giant will soon have to fend off the European Union. The EU on Wednesday will announce plans to charge the company for abusing its dominance in the search market, multiple reports say.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU's commissioner who oversees antitrust matters, will inform her peers Wednesday that Google will soon be served with charges alleging breach of antitrust rules, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The lawsuit comes after a half-decade investigation by the EU looking into whether Google gave itself an unfair advantage by promoting its services to the top of search results and ahead of its competition. The investigation has also delved into whether it is legal for Google to scrape information from rival services and include it on its search results and whether Google bullies advertisers into continuing to use its services, Financial Times said Tuesday.
Google has been able to avoid charges like these in other parts of the world with settlements and almost did the same in Europe last year, but with Vestager set to announce her plans, it may be unlikely for Google to appease Europe before going to court. If Europe does indeed file charges against the Mountain View, California, tech giant, this would be the biggest antitrust case on the continent since the European Union battled it out with Microsoft for more than a decade, resulting in numerous fines against the Redmond, Washington, tech company.
If Google is found to be violating antitrust rules, the company could be looking at billions of dollars in fines. Additionally, the tech giant could be hit with restrictions that hamper its business in Europe, which accounts for nearly half of the company's advertising revenue.