GOOGLE'S LONG-RUNNIN BATTLE with the European Union over its Shopping service looks set to end in what could amount to a fine of around $9bn (7bn English quids, near as dammit).
Reuters reports that the fine could be slapped as soon as August to beat the summer recess, ending a seven-year investigation triggered after everyone not called Google said it wasn't fair that they weren't Google.
The company has been accused of skewing search results towards it shopping service, causing harm to both rivals and consumers.
Google has always argued that comparing its shopping service to other search engines excludes the likes of Amazon and eBay, which are its competition in the field - not Bing and Ask Jeeves.
In the US, the case was settled in 2013, with Google told to stop "scraping" reviews from other sites to populate the service. But it looks like the European ruling will go a lot further.
Google has tried several times to settle out of court, but the EU continues to press the charges.
Also on the table are accusations that the Android operating system is overdominant and precludes rival systems and enforces its "Adsense for Search" platform in search results.
Because apparently this is the world where that was the only thing stopping Windows Mobile getting a foothold. Pardon us while we ROFL. We're going to be interested to see if the enforced use of Bing in Windows 10, which Microsoft has already sealed up the loopholes of, gets raked over the same hot coals or if this is a Googley vendetta.
EU turnover for Google was measured at $90bn last year, so a $9bn fine would be the top whack, but it is also likely to impose sanctions, either as guidelines or specific orders. However no-one seems to know exactly what that would look like in reality.
It's certain that the EU will want to make an example of Google, but without doing anything that could harm its valuable presence and investment on the content. After all, when it comes to matters of world politics, Google has as many claws as the Eu does teeth.
Meanwhile, some companies have actually sided with Google already, most notably BT, in February. µ
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