The U.S. Justice Department has recently d sued Google for allegedly abusing its dominance in Internet search. The multinational technology company has faced similar moves from the European regulators in the past.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, Executive VP, has hit Google with a multibillion dollar fine in 3 separate cases in recent years. The cases have put Vestager at the forefront of this global movement to restrict the big technology companies from making illegal moves in the whole digital ecosystem.
In 2017, Google received its 1st antitrust penalty of $2.72 billion (2.42 billion euros) from the EU. This case was regarding the unfair promotion of its own shopping recommendations in the search results. The investigations lasted for 7 years and discovered that the company unfairly directed the visitors to Google Shopping, its comparison shopping service. Several regulators in Europe appealed to the company to make changes in the way it offers search results.
In addition, 1 year later, the EU Commission fined the company €4.34 billion for forcing the smartphone manufacturers that adopt its Android OS to install Google search & browser apps. In response to this ruling, it started giving a choice of search apps and browsers to European Android users. In 2019, the European regulators also fined the company €1.49 billion for freezing out competitors in the online advertising business.
The U.S. authorities are anticipated to pay attention to 2 major drawbacks of the European Union investigations, i.e. long-drawn-out process & Google’s tactics to avoid changing the business model by using any loophole.
Currently, regulators have started taking a different tack in recent cases involving technology companies. For instance, Broadcom has recently agreed to halt making competition-restricting exclusive contracts with the customers. The EU’s Executive Commission, on a broader level, has been preparing plans to make significant changes in regulations for the digital age, by preventing technology companies from dominating in online markets.