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Google reportedly facing a 'hefty fine' from EU antitrust regulators over shopping searches

The European Commission (EC) has been investigating Google for alleged anti-competitive practices for some time now, but it's believed to be preparing to deliver its final rulings. According to Reuters, the European Union's antitrust regulators are expected to hand Google's parent company Alphabet a 'hefty fine', as it concludes a seven-year investigation into the firm's shopping search service.

The EC received numerous complaints from European and American companies, accusing Google of manipulating search results in favor of its own shopping service, unfairly disadvantaging its rivals, and limiting the options presented to consumers.

A year ago, a report claimed that the EC was considering slapping Google with a fine in the region of €3 billion EUR (around $3.4 billion USD), dwarfing Europe's previous largest antitrust penalty, a €1.1 billion fine directed at Intel in 2009. The EC can apply a maximum fine equivalent to 10% of a company's global annual sales, which for Google would amount to roughly $9 billion of its 2016 revenue.

In addition to the financial penalty, the EC is likely to order Google to stop its alleged anti-competitive practices in shopping searches, although it's still unclear exactly what specific measures the Commission will insist upon. Its final ruling, including any fines, is expected to arrive before August.

Following a separate antitrust investigation, the EC formally accused Google in April 2016 of having "abused its dominant position" in Europe with its Android operating system. Google responded by saying that Android is "good for competition and for consumers". The EC hasn't yet announced its final determination in that case, which could also result in massive fines for the company.

Google is also entangled in a third antitrust probe by the EC, in which the firm stands accused of having abused its dominant position in the online advertising market, after it allegedly prohibited AdSense for Search users from accepting rival search ads.

Source: Reuters

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