Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been facing problems on many fronts of late. While Google itself is being investigated by tax authorities, privacy advocates and competition watchdogs in many European countries, recent reports have indicated that another Alphabet company, Nest Labs, makers of the eponymous smart thermostat, has been facing several issues ranging from severe criticisms regarding the leadership style of the company’s co-founder and CEO, Mr. Tony Fadell, to concerns over the company deliberately shutting down one of its own products – the Revolv smart hub. Some reports have even indicated that Nest could very well be facing an existential crisis with Alphabet considering cutting the company’s R&D funding in an apparent attempt to be more ‘Wall Street friendly’.
Unfortunately for Alphabet, even as it is besieged with issues closer home, its long-standing and well-documented troubles over in Europe simply won’t go away. In fact, a new report coming from continent indicates that the European Union’s chief competition commissioner, Ms. Margrethe Vestager, has now revealed in an interview that her agency is “advancing” its probe into Google’s alleged abuse of its market dominance with Android and AdSense, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. It wasn’t immediately clear, however, whether the commission is considering pressing additional charges against the search giant going forward. The commission is already investigating multiple charges of monopolistic trade practices against the search giant as regards both Android as well as AdSense.
While Google is being investigated on multiple counts by the EU Commission as well as various EU member states individually, even non-EU countries like Russia have upped the ante against the American tech giant, with the country’s largest internet company, Yandex, accusing Google of abusing Android’s market dominance to the detriment of its competitors. While that particular case with the European Commission is still pending, Yandex has already won a morale boosting victory in an antitrust case over Google in its home country. The UK is another place where Google has been in a bit of strife, with the country’s tax authorities, the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs), conducting a multi-year probe that culminated earlier this year in an agreement reached between the two sides which will need Google to pay £130 million ($185) in back taxes.