Google is set to receive a record fine from European Commission competition regulators in the coming weeks, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal. Although the US tech giant has been the subject of antitrust probes in the search and Android market, the forthcoming fine will be for promoting its own comparison-shopping service in search results, with the company possibly having to pay out as much as 10 percent of its yearly revenue, which stood at USD 90.27 billion last year, according Telecompaper. The EU's previous record fine against a company abusing its dominance was EUR 1.06 billion against Intel in 2009, said the report.
In addition to the fine, the EC is also likely to demand Google treat its own comparison shopping service equally with those of its competitors, such as Foundem.co.uk and Kelkoo.com, said the sources, adding that this could mean the search giant is required to make rival services more visible on its own platform than they are at present. However, any precise order in that regard would likely only be hammered out after a decision is announced, said the WSJ.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the EC was preparing to levy a hefty fine on Google over its shopping service by August. The EC’s multi-year investigation was prompted by complaints from US and European companies, resulting in formal charges against Google in April 2015 for using its market dominance in internet searches to promote its own shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers. The US tech giant subsequently rejected the charges on the grounds that regulators ignored competition from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.