The European Union’s competition regulator on Wednesday accused Google of illegally abusing its dominance of the Internet search market in Europe by favoring its own comparison-shopping product when consumers shop online.
The case could cost the tech firm billions in fines or even force Google to make significant changes to its business in Europe. It also revives memories of Microsoft’s decade-long antitrust fight with the EU. That case ended in 2009 with Microsoft paying over $2 billion in fines to the EU’s competition commission.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday in a statement unveiling an investigation that she is “concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Google now has the opportunity to convince the commission to the contrary.”
Vestager also is probing Google’s Android mobile operating systems, apps and services. Vestager said that she wants to “make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anti-competitive constraints.”
Google accounts for 90% of all Internet searches in Europe and the commission alleges the Internet giant broke antitrust regulations by siphoning traffic from its competitors to its own services.