The European Union’s antitrust watchdog is likely to impose a fine of more than 1 billion euro (US$1.12 billion) on Google and demand changes to the company’s business practices, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
The EU competition authority could announce the fine as soon as Tuesday, declaring that Google has manipulated search results to favor its own comparison-shopping service, according to the paper.
The antitrust penalty against Google is expected to surpass the EU’s previous record fine imposed on a company for allegedly abusing its market position — a 1.06 billion euro fine against Intel in 2009, the report said.
While announcing the penalty, the EU will likely demand Google give rival comparison shopping services such as Foundem.co.uk and Kelkoo.com equal treatment in its search results.
Complainants allege that Google demotes competitors’ offerings in search rankings and artificially inserts its own service in a box above all other search results, regardless of their relevance.
The European Commission has been investigating Google for breaching the bloc’s antitrust rules in various areas.
Other formal EU probes into Google’s behaviors with its Android mobile-operating service and AdSense advertising service are continuing.
“We continue to engage constructively with the European Commission and we believe strongly that our innovations in online shopping have been good for shoppers, retailers and competition,” a Google spokesman told the Journal.
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