Google's compliance deadline issued to the company by the European Union as part of the largest antitrust fine in the history of the Old Continent ends today, with the Mountain View, California-based tech giant now being expected to present competent officials with a plan on how it intends to stop employing anti-competitive practices which the EU believe benefit its online shopping service at a direct expense of alternative solutions. The antitrust division of the European Commission hit Google with a €2.4 billion ($2.9 billion) fine in late June, ordering the company to take immediate steps to stop its practices that regulators deem monopolistic. The actual deadline for implementing those changes ends on September 28, though Google is expected to outline its planned moves today.
If the Alphabet-owned company doesn't comply with the ruling by late September, it risks being hit with daily fines until it does so, with the current regulatory framework in Europe allowing the political bloc to penalize Google with as much as five percent of its daily revenue for every extra 24 hours that the firm takes to adhere to the ruling. While Google's fine is unprecedented in the history of the EU, the bloc's past clashes with foreign tech giants over antitrust regulations indicate that the company may only be at the beginning of its legal battle in Europe; the previously largest anti-competitive fine in EU's history was that issued to Intel in 2009 which amounted to $1.2 billion, yet that particular case is still in trial and may only be resolved next month when the Luxembourg-based General Court rules on it following Intel's appeal. Intel previously argued that the contents of the Commission's orders were unclear and the U.S. firm didn't understand what the regulator wants it to do to stop its supposedly anti-competitive behavior, which is a route that Google may also take in the near future.
Even if the Search giant decides to fight the decision — which is becoming increasingly more likely, given its recent efforts on this front — it will still be expected to comply with EU's orders in some manner before being able to reach a final verdict on the matter from one of the bloc's top courts. As part of that resolution, the company now also must submit a compliance plan to the Commission by the end of the day which the regulator will inspect over the course of the next month. Google previously argued that its online shopping service is an integral part of Google Search and not an attempt to hurt competition, which are claims that the EU antitrust watchdog clearly dismissed, given the recent turn of events. The EU is still in the process of investigating anti-competitive charges against Google related to AdSense and Android, with those two cases being expected to be concluded in the coming months, at least in terms of initial verdicts.