Google Could Face Huge Fine In EU For Antitrust Violation

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

The European Union is expected to hit Google with a fine for violating antitrust laws and abusing its power in Android operating systems.

An investigation conducted by the EU concluded that Google harmed competition and consumer choice by imposing illegal terms on Android device makers. About 80 percent of the world’s phones use Android operating systems.

Google cut competition by offering financial incentives for Android device makers to exclusively pre-install Google Search on their products and the device makers were barred from using competing operating systems. (RELATED: Google Is Crushing Small Business, Antitrust Authorities Say)

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, is set to announce the decision on July 9, Reuters reported. The EU has the power to impose a fine of up to 10 percent of a company’s annual turnover, which would make the fine against Google’s parent company Alphabet about $11 billion.

Yelp has been an outspoken critic of Google’s alleged anticompetitive and antitrust behavior. Its co-founder, Jeremy Stoppelman, discussed how Google’s practices have changed in the past few years and said it would be impossible to start his company today, in a “60 Minutes” interview on May 20.

Yelp, a major Google competitor, filed an antitrust complaint to the EU’s Competition Commission against Google, alleging Google is violating antitrust laws for favoring its own content more than others, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on May 21.

“If I were starting out today, I would have no shot of building Yelp,” Stoppelman said in the interview. “That opportunity has been closed off by Google and their approach.”

If someone starts a company that directly competes with Google, Google will snuff them out, according to Stoppelman. “They will make you disappear. They will bury you,” Stoppelman said.

Google is currently appealing a 2.3 billion euro fine (about $2.8 billion) the EU slapped the company with in 2017 for its online shopping anticompetitive behavior.

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