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Google faces over $1bn EU fine over anti-trust issues

19 June 2017

The European Commission (EC) is likely to slap a 874 million (over $1 billion) fine on internet giant Google over antitrust issues, larger than the $1 billion fine it slapped on Intel - according to a report in The Financial Times.

The European Union institution has accused the California-based technology giant of abusing a dominant position in Android, its mobile operating system, and another relating to its online search advertising business.

EC has accused Google of promoting its own shopping service in its search results over those of its competitors. Google is in line to beat Intel for inviting the largest-ever EU fine, says the report.

The EU had fined Intel $1 billion for a series of dirty tricks to prevent AMD's PC CPUs, which were in fact superior to Intel's CPUs, from gaining market share.

According to the EC, Google searches favour Google's own price comparison web-site over  rival sites and wants to change its price comparison business model.

A failure to come up with an acceptable model could cost Google up to 5 per cent of average daily turnover in fines for every day.

The maximum fine which the EU can impose is 10 per cent of revenues which, in Google's case, were $90 billion last year.

Google can appeal any decisions to the European courts but these act as judge and jury in their own cause.

American tech giants are coming under increasing scrutiny by European regulators. Besides the anti-trust penalties on Intel and Google, Apple was hit last year with a record 13 billion (11.3 billion) tax bill after the EC ruled its tax arrangements in Ireland amounted to "state aid." This comes after the landmark antitrust case against Microsoft a decade earlier.

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