The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is setting the stage for an anti-trust trial against Google. She is seeking permission from companies that have filed complaints to publish confidential information.
Europe’s investigation into Google’s alleged anti-competitive practices have floundered at least three times in the past five years and it seems that Vestager wants to deal with the matter head on for once and for all.
According to the Wall Street Journal Vestager has contacted complainants that include e-commerce, travel and local companies who feel their businesses have been infringed upon by the Google monopoly, a strong signal that anti-trust charges are being prepared.
If the case goes ahead it would be the biggest anti-trust case taken by Europe since the case over Microsoft’s Explorer browser, which cost the software giant €1.7bn in fines.
In Google’s case it has been estimated the search giant could potentially be hit with a fine as much as €6bn.
Google waging a multi-front war against Fortress Europe
The case is just one of a number of skirmishes that Google has been having with the European Union.
In November the European Parliament voted in favour of splitting Google’s search operation from its commercial business in a bid to create a more level playing field for internet search.
Currently Google dominates with 90pc of the search market in Europe.
In a related matter the European Union’s data officials called for the ‘right to be forgotten’ from search engine results such as Google’s to be extended beyond Europe.
And in another skirmish the European Commissioner for the Digital Economy Günther Oettinger is also understood considering an IP tax that has been labelled ‘anti-Google’.
Google image via Shutterstock