Google faces record $4.7b antitrust fine

A woman hovers a mouse over the Google and European Union logos in this April 15, 2015 photo illustration. Google faces record $4.7b antitrust fine.
A woman hovers a mouse over the Google and European Union logos in this April 15, 2015 photo illustration. Google faces record $4.7b antitrust fine. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Google faces a record antitrust fine of around €3 billion (S$4.7 billion) from the European Commission in the coming weeks, The Sunday Telegraph has reported, an all-time-high payout surpassing the previous €1.1 billion imposed on microchip giant Intel.

The British newspaper cited sources saying officials are putting the finishing touches to the seven- year-long investigation, and plan to announce the fine as early as next month.

The maximum possible fine is around €6.6 billion, or a tenth of Google's total annual sales.

The move would be a blow to Google, a unit of Alphabet, which has fought European antitrust charges for seven years.

The European Union, led by its tough antitrust policewoman Margrethe Vestager, has accused Google of promoting its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services in a case that has been dragging on.

Google also faces other probes in the region, including into its Android mobile operating system.

Both the European Commission and Google declined to comment.

Sources said last month that after three failed attempts at a compromise in the past six years, Google now has no plans to try to settle the allegations unless the EU watchdog changes its stance.

The firm has resisted forced changes to its algorithms and offered alternatives such as redesigned presentations of search results.

Google will also be banned from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm rivals, the newspaper said.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2016, with the headline 'Google faces record $4.7b antitrust fine'. Print Edition | Subscribe