Earlier this month, we heard that the European Commission was about to “move against” Google, “setting the stage for charges” against the search giant after a five-year-long investigation and several attempts by Google to settle. Now, the WSJ is reporting again that Europe’s antitrust regulator has indeed decided to file formal charges.
This will be the EU’s largest antitrust case since the famous one against Microsoft.
According to the report, new antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager made the decision on Tuesday after consulting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. She is expected to inform the other EU commissioners at a Wednesday meeting. Google could reportedly face fines in excess of $6 billion (10% of its annual revenues based on last year).
Even with formal charges, settlement discussions can reportedly still take place, and but if unproductive, Google may face major penalties.
If the case goes to court, the whole thing could play out for a much longer period of time.
Earlier this month, reports came out that the commission has been asking companies who have filed complaints against the search giant for permission to publish info they submitted as confidential. These include those in the shopping, local, and travel industries.
Obviously we’ll learn more as the Commission makes a formal announcement.
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