Google facing another hefty antitrust fine in Europe: Report

Reuters is reporting the search engine giant is expected to be hit with a second EU antitrust fine, this time over Android monopolisation.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

The European Commission may slap Alphabet's Google with another fine for breaching EU antitrust rules, this time for using its Android operating system to freeze out competition.

According to Reuters, the European Commission could issue its decision in early July, after having been investigating the case since 2015.

The report, citing three people familiar with the matter, said as a deterrent, the penalty is likely to top the €2.4 billion fine Google was hit with last year for unfairly favouring its shopping service.

The EU in June last year fined Google for abusing its market dominance as a search engine to promote its own comparison shopping service, displaying it more prominently in search results than those of its rivals.

In August, Google agreed to comply with demands from the EU to alter its shopping search results, after getting hit with the fine.

Although a Google spokesperson told ZDNet at the time it had informed the commission of its planned remedies to comply with the decision, it did not offer detail on how it planned to change its practices.

A blog post penned by senior vice president Kent Walker did say the search engine giant disagreed with the European Commission's argument that Google Shopping results were harming competition.

"We believe these claims are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics," he wrote at the time.

It has also been reported the commission is expected to request Google stop "anti-competitive" practices, such as licensing deals that prevent competing smartphone-makers from promoting alternatives to Google's apps.

Reuters also said Google recently sought a closed-door hearing after being told of the new claims the commission is expected to lay. The search giant's request was denied.

Alphabet reported a net income of $9.4 billion, with non-GAAP earnings of $13.33 per share on revenue of $31.1 billion for the first quarter of 2018.


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