Google will have to pay a $3.4 billion fine in Europe for anti-competitive practices


Following their seven-year long investigation of Google's search engine practices in the European Union, Brussels authorities are homing in with the intention of fining the company a record $3.4 billion for anti-competitive practices. This figure will surpass the previous highest penalty of $1.2 billion given to Intel back in 2009.

The European Union accused Google of unfairly promoting its shopping service (Google Shopping) in internet searches to the detriment of rivals. The past six years have seen as many as three failed attempts at a resolution and it's clear that the company has no intention of changing its practices or settling the allegations unless the plaintiffs changed their stance.

EU officials may announce the fine in June, although the bill is not yet finalised. In addition to the hefty toll, the company will be banned from "manipulating" search results the way it's used to.

Additionally, the European Commission is running a parallel investigation into Google's policies regarding Android – more specifically, the non-open version with Google services. The authorities believe that the pre-installed Google applications, the Android licensing requirements, and financial incentives to partners harm the competition's efforts and "stiffle innovation." If the company is deemed guilty in this case, it will have to pay another fine that could potentially reach 10% of its annual sales revenue.

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73 Comments

1. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

From now on Gmail will cost $2 per year.

21. Vrils

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 17, 2011

how can there be people that CRY for Google ??? Google is a very rich USA company that does nothing free for you

41. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

What company does something free for you?

52. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google deserves getting punished for their anticompetitive and antitrust behavior. They should be getting fined in the US as well.

54. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Aside from shaking up various markets... Google Fi is quite an innovative concept for phone service, the first of its kind that actually invite cooperation amongst competitors, Fiber is forcing other service providers to offer higher internet speeds for less. When it first came out it was on average 20x faster than what the competition offered, and they're forcing this to change. They pay for maintaining the global network. You can read articles about them laying fiber optics along sea floors across continental divides, they're actively researching better methods of monitoring blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and seeing as I have a wife who's diabetic I can say this with 100% certainty, what they're working towards will mean a world of difference to those who are diabetic. Driverless cars, which will change the entire landscape of the transport infrastructure of the planet if they're successful. I don't think people are crying for Google as you put it, but are rather really excited about that they've done thus far as a company and what they anticipate they'll do going forward.

81. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Google Fiber is good. Fi is pretty mediocre for data. You're wrong.

71. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

These companies crying foul, can simply do what Google did. Created their own OS and ecosystem. They can by Windows Mobile, blackberry or Nokia and do whatever the want. Stop crying about Google. Heck they can put their eggs in Apple.

72. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

These companies crying foul, can simply do what Google did. Created their own OS and ecosystem. They can by Windows Mobile, blackberry or Nokia and do whatever the want. Stop crying about Google. Heck they can put their eggs in Apple.

82. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

The companies crying foul are Microsoft and Apple. These companies are rival. They would use whatever means to attack their competitior. The things i am curious are both Apple and Microsoft have shown the lack of forthsight. If EU take money from Google what is stopping them to take money from the other two. EU could also view Apple and Microsoft licensing terms as anti competitive and give them a heavy fine as well.

83. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Apple...once more for the android nuts. Doesn't Deal with Any OEMs. How has this not sunk in yet. MS was already hit. In fact they couldn't put media player on their windows installs. Think about that, an OS couldn't play videos without downloading another player. Imagine if you couldn't play the video on your Google Device without having to FIRST visit the playstore and hope to lord that they are not stealing your info. Another Then MS wanted 7% (close to that) royalty fees for licensing from certain software companies complained MS wouldn't give to them to run on Windows, not only did MS lower it for the EU while keeping it the same for the world, but instead of half that or even 1/10th that...no they had to go below 0.5% fees....imagine if you gutted Googles ad revenue by 90%.... Another in Iowa Brought forth a complaint not from direct sellers, but indirect. think about that. They won saying indirectly MS had affected them because MS had a dominate position. MS wasn't even involved it was 3rd party OEMs. That's like suing Google because Samsung doesn't make and S7 with windows on it. Think about it. If you think google is treated unfair here.....there is a bridge for sale.

2. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

WTF!? A penalty for utilizing a service you built with your own hands to your own advantage? How stupidly unfair can the EU get? They're basically discouraging companies from working hard and capitalizing on their hard work. Nothing stops the so-called "competition" from making their own search engine if they have a problem with google taking advantage of it's years of hard work...

12. Zeeya

Posts: 331; Member since: Mar 17, 2013

Your comment is so stupid.

15. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Awwww, some imbecile on the internet just threw an insult at me without any rational logic to back it...pointless. Feel free to give constructive criticism of why you came to that conclusion...if you actually have such.

22. Vrils

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 17, 2011

why are you so angry ? did someone took anything form you ??? nothing will change for you, calm down and take your pills

26. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Fed up that an organization can be fined for taking advantage of it's own years of hard work, just to make it easier for the competition to take advantage of their work...it's like corporate slavery.

78. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

The same thing happened when they deregulated the telecom industry. Companies that built the infrastructure were forced to let competitors use said infrastructure at reduced rates. So our local ISP built out their copper (and now fiber) lines across their area and competing ISPs who haven't done anything in our area other than offer their service on our ISP's lines get to do so at a reduced rate. Since they don't have to maintain those lines, they can undercut the ISP who put those lines in. With that being said, what point is there for companies to build out am infrastructure? Their competition gets to use it with no upkeep costs and can undercut them. It also sounds similar to companies like StraightTalk, who are able to offer service using Verizon's or AT&T's network, and do so for less. They even brag about not having to maintain the network which allows them to keep costs down in their commercials. It's kind of a slap in the face to the companies whose networks they're using.

34. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah thats stupid.. did they sue IKEA for suggesting their own product at their own shop? sure they have other brands there, but they'll likely suggesting their own product since its their store, just like all store out there... and its even more funny that they didnt sue the worst monopolitic OS out there, they should sue Apple, for some obvious reason, lol

45. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Well Google has special circumstances compared to most other businesses, They practically own internet traffic with the majority of people the world over looking for something relying on them to find it. This is where the success of many online retailers rely on Google, and if their business is constantly being overlooked because the moderator of internet traffic directs people to their own services/goods then it becomes an unfair business practice. I typically don't buy things straight from Google and have found may places that I love to shop at online because of them, but this isn't always the case.

74. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

The reason Google have such large control, is because people use their services. The people don't have to use it, their are other's companies that makes mobile OS. We can all try them, if you like.

76. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

But you do not seem to understand that this has absolutely nothing to do with their mobile OS, at least not at the moment, that may change going forward. This is about Google using their position as a monopoly in web traffic to direct people to their own goods and services. This is what makes a monopoly an illegal monopoly, where you use your position in the market to discourage competition. The competition in this example is not a competing search engine or mobile OS, but online retail in general. If you do a search at the moment for an item you're particularly interested in buying it is more than likely that the top link or two will be a like that benefits Google. This is actually an illegal act on Google's part and why they're getting sued. You can argue with me all you like, but I'm not an Apple fan or Windows fan, I really do love Google, but this is a dirty practice and it hurts the customer in the long run to promote their own services unfairly over the competition.

77. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

If someone can demonstrate how Google is suppressing or discriminating against other search engines, I will concede that your point is valid. Absolutely no one in the world does not have a choice about which search engine to use. The fact that a majority of them choose to use Google is not something that Google should be punished for. Retailers, too, can withdraw their products from Google's shopping results as Amazon has done. Just as with individuals searching the internet, no retailer does not have a choice about allowing their products to appear under Google Shopping or even Google search. Instead of fining Google, the EU should run ads letting people know about alternative search engines and perhaps give the other search engines tax breaks for advertising their services. Then let the people decide.

87. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Google is in no way suppressing other search engines, but that doesn't change the fact that they have a monopoly simply because they are the search engine of choice for the majority of internet surfers, and in no way shape or form will government ads, or tax breaks encourage consumers to switch from something that works especially when Google services is so deeply integrated into the Android ecosystem, which has a commanding 85% global market share.

58. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So what is the issue? It sounds like peopel who use Google search, when they are shopping will have Google own results at the top followed by everyone else. Why is that an issue? Unless they were doing something else. if I was Google I'd tell them to KMA. Google doesn't need Europe for anything. Other than EU possibly trying to band products that have Android on them. With all the real problems in Europe, this is more important to them? Really?

4. blingblingthing

Posts: 979; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Wait a minute. Manufacturers have a choice with which Android version they want to use. Amazon does it with Kindle, how many other Chinese manufacturers do the same. If Google is anti competitive in Android; what is Apple?

39. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Apple has no OEM, that is where your first mistake is. If apple had an OEM and they got caught being unfair by using their market position to stop OEM's in some capacity...then yea they would get fined. They have been fined in the past. MS as well was fined for the way they treated OEMs's

61. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

But the apps that apple has pre installed also boost unfair competetion same way as Android does. Why would it matter if they themselve make the device or others do?

79. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Do you not know what an OEM is? Those apps will never see the light of day on any device unless Apple pumps one out. Not so with Google. Google has been caught threatening OEMs to remove something so that Googles Services will be the sole benefactor. Lets rewind to Motorola, using at the time a better mapping service for their devices. If Motorola, who had been using for awhile now, didn't cease and instead make google the default, not just install gmaps but make it the default, Google threatened to de-certify the devices and others, which meant Moto couldn't sell the device. They could, but without Google, which at the time was the only player in Android. This is what MS did with IE and got slammed for to the point that when you launched IE it would direct you to competitors browsers. You don't think chrome got a fair boost out of this ploy for a decade?! Same thing with Media player etc. Google threatened I believe it was Asus that they couldn't fork android for a 2in1 tablet, if they did, they would be kicked out of the Open Handset Alliance and stopped from using Google android in other devices. Google built an ecosystem not because people 'chose' it, but because there simply was no other offer as a result of certain dealing. MS got caught got fined, and the rest is history. Google is getting caught. The EU is claiming that when someone goes to Google there is no warning that the placement of items is not by popular result (though it is to some extent) but because people are paying to play. Meaning the result is not unbiased. So EU is saying the trust of the consumer is broken by using a browser/service that is literally using your naïve self (not you but general public) who is not in the know, to their own advantage. Do I think it is silly? Yes to some extent, do I see why they do it? Of course. Is there a solution? Who knows.

75. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

Their is blackberry, Apple and Nokia, why can't these OEM use their products? Google isn't forcing anyone to user Android and their product. Heck, Linux is available for anyone to create their own OS if they choose. That's what Google did.

47. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Google has requirements for use of its Google Play Store. If you do not preload specific apps then you loose the right to use it. This is a huge problem for companies who want to create a unique experience away from what Google wants, but how are you going to entice customers to buy your product if you don't have the massive app library that Google play provides. I love that you brought up Amazon, they went their own route with the Fire phone and that's anything but a success story.

80. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

The firephone...that 'thing'. The only real success of non-google android in the major markets besides china, is Amazon with Kindle. And only because no others were really power playing the tablet against the ipad. And even now, kindle accounts for less than a 1/4 of all android tablets, despite their cornered market share and BILLIONS. This is what people don't see, this promise of open, but really only for hobbiests...Cyanmod has done well, but where can I buy a phone in the USA at a store...

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