Google faces first EU fine in 2016 with no deal on cards: sources

Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:26pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS - Google is likely to face its first European Union antitrust sanction this year, with little prospect of it settling a test case with the bloc's regulator over its shopping service, people familiar with the matter said.

There are few incentives left for either party to reach a deal in a six-year dispute that could set a precedent for Google searches for hotels, flights and other services and tests regulators' ability to ensure diversity on the Web.

Alphabet Inc's Google, which was hit by a second EU antitrust charge this month for using its dominant Android mobile operating system to squeeze out rivals, shows little sign of backing down after years of wrangling with European authorities.

Several people familiar with the matter said they believe that after three failed compromise attempts since 2010, Google has no plan to try to settle allegations that its Web search results favor its own shopping service, unless the EU watchdog changes its stance.

Such a change of heart appears unlikely, with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager -- a Dane whose team is leading the Google investigation -- showing little interest in reaching a settlement where there is no finding of wrongdoing or a fine against the company, other people said.

Underpinning Vestager's tough approach, and the Commission's case, are scores of complaints from companies, big and small, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Alphabet shares were flat at 1824 GMT.

  Continued...

 
Google and European Union logos are seen in Sarajevo, in this April 15, 2015 photo illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic