Google's historic antitrust fine issued by the European Commission may result in losses that will dwarf €2.42 billion ($2.73 billion) that the Alphabet-owned company was ordered to pay on Tuesday, some experts believe. Matti Littunen of London-based market research firm Enders Analysis claims that the sole fact Google will now be closely monitored by competition regulators on the Old Continent could significantly limit the company's "strategic options," possibly affecting its expansion plans and other related endeavors.
The ruling that was celebrated by competitors of the Mountain View, California-based Internet giant mandates the company to start treating rivaling shopping price comparison services as being equal to its proprietary solution but doesn't clarify on the matter, which some industry watchers believe poses a major problem for the firm going forward. Littunen and independent financial analyst Richard Windsor suggested that Google may be hit with a similar ruling in the Android antitrust case that's currently also being investigated by the European Commission. The AdSense probe is somewhat different, with both analysts opinioning that the firm may have an easier time complying with a potentially unfavorable ruling. Regardless, it's currently unclear how exactly is Google planning to treat competing shopping services in an equal manner seeing how its own solution is currently so heavily integrated into its Internet search engine, but the company was now ordered to detailed its plans to do so within 60 days and implement them within three months or face further penalties. The Android investigation could potentially be even more convoluted, with Google's mobile software suite being seen as an essential part of the Android experience by many consumers, yet there's a realistic chance that the EC orders the company to stop requiring original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to pre-load its apps on their devices running the Android operating system, some industry watchers believe.
Google General Counsel Kent Walker previously said that the company opposes the EC's ruling, adding that its in-house shopping comparison service seeks to fulfill a known demand from consumers looking for a straightforward solution for comparing prices of online goods directly within Google Search. While Walker said that Google will consider appealing the verdict, it remains to be seen whether the firm ultimately opts for that approach in the coming weeks.