In a report by The Daily Telegraph, Google is on the cusp of being hit with a “record-breaking” antitrust fine by the European Commission. It apparently will be“in the region of €3 billion” ($3.39 billion). Ouch.
The Daily Telegraph, which cites sources familiar with the European Commission’s proceedings, says that the penalty is coming “within weeks.” It’s not clear about the precise amount of the fine will be though.
The bad news for Google (not that a possible €3 billion fine isn’t bad enough news already) the anticipated fine isn’t the maximum penalty that is available to the Commission. They have the authority to penalize companies up to a tenth of their annual global revenue. This means, Google could be fined up to $6 billion.
What’s even worse for Google, If this fine goes through, that doesn’t mean the end of Google’s antitrust challenges in Europe. The current matter the commission is focusing on is shopping search results. There are formal charges pending over Google’s control over the Android operating system.
It was decided by Google that, instead of making further concessions, which implicated its control over their own product it would resist the European Commission’s case and arguments. Google would be able to appeal to the European Court of Justice if the fine is levied. But it seems that things aren’t going to work in Google’s favor, as the court has historically shown greater deference to the European Commission than US courts have to the FTC or Department of Justice in US antitrust matters.
The Daily Telegraph also says that in addition to any fine, “Google will be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm rivals.” As a practical matter, this probably means that Google will be not be able to insert cards, Knowledge Graph data or “Google properties” above or ahead of rivals on the SERP.