According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is preparing to file antitrust charges against Google. The charges come after a five-year long investigation that’s stalled three times and caused strong political divides in Europe.
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The report claims that the European Commission is asking for permission from companies that filed claims against Google to publish them. The European Union has reportedly been contacting shopping, local, and travel companies for permission.
Google’s antitrust case in Europe would be the highest-profile suit since a similar investigation against Microsoft. Microsoft ended up paying the EU $1.8 billion in fines through 2012. Although in Google’s case, it’s still possible that the company could reach a settlement with antitrust investigators. That seems unlikely, however, when you consider that Google and the EU have already tried to settle the investigation three times.
Google is being accused of a variety of anticompetitive practices in Europe with this investigation. Claims include that Google has been scrapping content from its competitors for use on its own services, displaying its services more prominently than others, and abusing its monopoly like power.
Regarding the upcoming charges against Google, a Brussels-based lawyer representing a Google competitor said the following:
“The fact that the commission has been seeking fuller [information] from complainants, against short deadlines [of] a couple of days, shows it is in the final stages of getting a statement of objections together. It’s part of the choreography you always see.”
Google was the subject of a similar investigation in the United States, although no charges were filed. A report last month gave a deeper look into what Google was accused of doing and how it agreed to modify its behavior.