EU to slap Google with record-breaking fine of EUR 1.1-2 billion this week: Report

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The European Union’s antitrust regulator is likely to impose a record fine on Google as early as Tuesday. Google’s fine would be in range of EUR 1.1-2.0 billion, approximately 10 percent of Google’s total revenue of EUR 8 billion last year.

The fine is expected to be greater than the EUR 1.06 billion that was imposed on US chip maker Intel in 2009.

Brussels has accused Google of giving its own shipping services top priority in search results causing damage to other price comparison services.

In the other Google cases, the EU is examining Google’s AdSense advertising service and its Android mobile phone software.

“We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and we believe strongly that our innovations in online shopping have been good for shoppers, retailers and competition,” said Mark Jansen, a spokesman for Google.

The European Commission refused to comment on the matter.

The Commission – which polices EU competition policy – had launched an initial investigation into Google in 2010 following complaints from rivals such as Microsoft and Trip Advisor that it favoured its own shopping services when customers ran searches.

Last year, the Google general counsel Kent Walker had told EU in a letter that the claims of Google Shopping harming competition “are wrong as a matter of fact, law, and economics.”

The fine will be imposed by the European Commission competition chief  Margrethe Vestager. His predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, made three attempts to resolve the dispute but in each case, intense pressure by national governments, rivals and privacy advocates scuppered the effort.

The decision, expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, comes a year after Vestager shocked the world and angered the Obama administration with an order that Apple pay EUR 13 billion in back taxes to Ireland.

Similar cases have been filed against other US companies like Starbucks, Apple, Amazon and McDonalds.

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