Frustrated competitors take legal route against Google

by WorldTribune Staff, June 2, 2017

Has Google become too big to sue?

Saying that Google rigged search results to favor its own shopping service, the European Union plans to slap a heavy fine on the Internet giant.

The EU competition authority accused Google of distorting Internet search results to favor its shopping service. / Getty Images

Over a seven-year investigation, EU antitrust regulators say the distortion of search results harmed both rivals and consumers, Reuters reported on June 2.

Fines for companies found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules can reach 10 percent of their global turnover, which in Google’s case could be about $9 billion of its 2016 turnover, the report said.

Google has in the past rejected the charges, saying that regulators ignored competition from online retailers Amazon and eBay.

Google has made three unsuccessful attempts to settle the case with the previous European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in a bid to stave off a possible fine and a finding of wrongdoing.

Almunia’s successor, Margrethe Vestager, has shown no willingness to settle with Google, the Reuters report said.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission settled its own web search case with Google in 2013 by requiring the U.S.-based company to stop “scraping” reviews and other data from rival websites for its own products.

Google also been charged with using its Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals and with blocking competitors in online search advertising related to its “AdSense for Search” platform.

The platform allows Google to act as an intermediary for websites such as online retailers, telecoms operators or newspapers. Regulators have warned of massive fines in both cases.

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