Google May Face Fines Worth Billions of Dollars
If the EU goes ahead with filing formal antitrust charges then Google may end up having to pay fines that amount to billions of dollars.
The saga has been going on for over a year and it appears that Google has ultimately failed to avoid charges, which may be enforced as early as this week.
The EU Has Been More Aggressive Than The US
It has been reported that the EU has been more aggressive than the US with respect to Google’s search business, and its market share (which is as much as 90% in Europe), and have decided to file formal charges against Google. The decision was apparently made by Margrethe Vestager after consulting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
A Fine of $6.6 Billion
The fine Google faces could be as much as 6.6 billion dollars, and as a result Google shares dropped around 1.6 percent on Tuesday. Google will likely also see a negative impact to its reputation. The decision to press charges is reminiscent of Europe’s previous action against Microsoft a decade ago.
The formal charges do not mean that a settlement is impossible – however any settlement would involve significant change for Google. Greg Sterling from Search Engine Land has speculated that such a settlement would involve the removal of Universal Search for Google. This would prevent Google from blending the types of media that appear on the results page, i.e. Google images, videos, news etc.
Such a change would be dramatic and would likely have an impact on Google’s market share in Europe and possibly enable rival search engines like Bing and Yahoo to pick up a larger share of the search market.
Although it is unlikely to prove fruitful, Google will have the opportunity to make an appeal to the European Court in Luxembourg.