Google has been in a long legal battle in the European Union over its Adsense for Search platform. The "statements of objections" were initially filed last year over Google's practice of having an unfair advantage in the ad wars by preventing third-party websites and platforms from showing competitor's ads. Now, the EU's antitrust regulators are ready to settle on a penalty for the search company.
Bloomberg reports the fine for Google is expected to top a previous $1.2 billion record. Regulators are so eager to administer it that they've opted to "skirt the usual rules that see all of the EU's 28 commissioners discuss controversial decisions at a weekly meeting, usually on a Wednesday."
From the article:
The EU accelerated action on a decision in recent days. Officials who'd previously targeted a July date had brought that forward to this week, one person said. Multiple Google representatives still hadn't been told of the EU's timetable as of early Monday. While the EU isn't required to inform companies, it often does so as a courtesy.
The rapid pace comes after a lengthy seven-year probe fueled by complaints from small shopping websites as well as bigger names, including News Corp., Axel Springer SE and Microsoft Corp. European politicians have called on the EU to sanction Google or even break it up while U.S. critics claim regulators are targeting successful American firms.
This decision is potentially the most significant antitrust enforcement ruling in almost two decades — since the U.S. Justice Department went after Microsoft. The case could also affect how Google displays its products in search results. For its part, Google told Bloomberg that it was "continuing to engage constructively with the European Commission and believes 'strongly that our innovations in online shopping have been good for shoppers, retailers and competition.'"
Overall, this particular case seems to be more about changing Google's advertising practices across the web. Will it be successful? Only if the EU issues a binding order requiring Google to change its practices.
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