The European Commission is expected to issue a decision in the next few weeks against Google, which could be sentenced to a record fine for abusing its dominant position in order to favor its price comparison service “Google Shopping”, said Friday Sources close to the file.
“We are heading towards a decision this summer,” said an AFP source, on condition of anonymity.
If the Commission decides to impose a fine on the US Internet giant, it could reach up to 10% of its turnover, which in 2016 amounted to 90.3 billion dollars.
The biggest fine ever imposed by Brussels in an abuse of dominance case amounts to 1.06 billion euros, against the US giant Intel back in 2009.
“The radio silence of the Commission for a few months means that they are finalizing the decision. There is no longer any request for information,” a second source close to the file told AFP.
“I think we are reaching the goal,” she added, saying she expected a “very significant fine”.
Contacted by AFP, Google declined to comment.
The Commission suspects that the Internet giant has systematically promoted its price comparison service “Google Shopping” in its results pages.
In April 2015, it sent a “statement of objections” to the company, the equivalent of an indictment in Brussels’ jargon.
According to Brussels, “Google’s behavior (…) has weakened or even marginalized the competition exerted by its closest competitors”.
“We believe these statements are erroneous from the point of view of facts, law and economics,” Kent Walker, vice president of Google, said in a blog post.
Google is still under two other Commission investigations for abuse of dominant position: the first concerns its advertising platform AdSense, the second its Android operating system.
In August 2016, the Commission had imposed on the tech giant Apple an order to refund 13 billion euros of undue tax benefits to Ireland, but this was not a fine.