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Google hit by U.S., EU antitrust suits
While the lead-up has taken the best part of two years, authorities on both sides of the Atlantic came close this year to concluding ongoing antitrust suits against search giant Google for alleged anti-competitive behavior.
Formal probes were opened against Google for allegedly 'cooking' its search results in order to favor its own services ahead of others, while pushing rival search results down the page. The investigation received more than a dozen formal complaints from a bevy of companies, including Microsoft-owned search engine Ciao!, Foundem, eJustice, Expedia, and TripAdvisor. The search company also allegedly "copied" content from other services without prior consent, and has been under the watchful eyes of both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission for the past year.
(The U.S. FTC also dinged Google after the search company was found to have bypassed the security settings on the Apple Safari browser earlier this year. Google settled for $22.5 million, which by our count, could have been recouped by Google in just five hours.)
Recent reports suggest that both the U.S. FTC and EU authorities will announce their plans to settle with the search giant in early 2013. Google can be fined up to 10 percent of its global annual turnover if it is found in breach of European law, which could amount to as much as $4 billion in fines.