It’s been a textbook example of how not to handle a European antitrust investigation when you know you’re guilty. In the years-long will-they-or-won’t-they antitrust investigation game that spanned two competition ministers, in the end it will be the sheer hubris that got Google and got them good. But then it’s what happens when the loser tries to run out the clock with no points on the board.
Google faces a record-breaking fine for monopoly abuse within weeks, as officials in Brussels put the finishing touches to a seven-year investigation of company’s dominant search engine.
It is understood that the European Commission is aiming to hit Google with a fine in the region of €3bn, a figure that would easily surpass its toughest anti-trust punishment to date, a €1.1bn fine levied on the microchip giant Intel.
Sources close to the situation said officials aimed to make an announcement before the summer break and could make their move as early as next month, although cautioned that Google’s bill for crushing competition online had not been finalised.
The maximum possible is around €6.6bn, or a tenth of Google’s total annual sales.
It will mark a watershed moment in Silicon Valley’s competition battle with Brussels.
And then maybe we can move on to YouTube.