The European Commission (EC) is set to issue a historic antitrust fine to Google that may amount to more than €1 billion, or $1.12 billion, industry sources said on Friday. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is said to have been found guilty of anti-competitive practices related to Google Search that the EC believes promoted Google's shopping comparison service at the expense of similar solutions made by the firm's competitors. The top competition watchdog on the Old Continent will officially announce the penalty in the coming weeks, insiders said, implying that the fine will be formalized before the European Parliament goes into a summer recess in mid-July.
The latest report corroborates a recent rumor that the EC is close to wrapping up a number of investigations into Google's supposed anti-competitive practices, some of which have been started long before the current European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager took office in August 2014. Apart from allegations of antitrust behavior related to the firm's shopping comparison service and Google Search, the Alphabet-owned Internet giant is presently also investigated over similar practices associated with its Android and AdSense divisions. Industry sources are now claiming that the other two cases also won't be concluded in Google's favor, with the company being expected to receive similar fines in the near future. The penalty that the tech giant is now facing can amount to a maximum of one-tenth of Alphabet's $90 billion revenue in 2016 and while the actual figure is expected to be significantly lower than that, it could still easily surpass the currently largest $1.2 billion antitrust fine issued in Europe that Intel was hit with eight years ago, some industry watchers believe.
Apart from financial repercussions, the ruling will also require Google to provide the EC with a proposed solution for its antitrust transgressions in a relatively short timeframe that likely won't be longer than several months. It's currently unclear how the company is planning to do so, but more details on the matter should be available in the coming weeks as the seven-year investigation into Google's promotional efforts related to its shopping service finally comes to an end.