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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) In Spotlight As EU Prepares Antitrust Charges

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Europe’s Competition regulator is reportedly setting the stage for what could be one of the highest-profile anti-trust lawsuits in the history of antitrust violations. The Wall Street Journal reports that the agency is preparing in the coming weeks to come up with charges against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) an indication that antitrust charges could be on the way.

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The European Union anti-trust authority has reportedly asked companies that had initially filed complaints against Google to re-submit their evidence. Some of the companies asked to share information include those in the travel and shopping industry as well as local companies. However, a settlement in Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s case is still a possibility even if the antitrust agency is to go forth and press charges.

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Google denies allegations

The Commission has also been investigating allegations that the search giant has been ‘scrapping’ content from rivals while also restricting advertisers and software developers who have business arrangements with its rivals, in the search business. The European Commission had reached a draft conclusion in March 2013 affirming there was substantial evidence that Google was abusing its dominant position in four key areas. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has already denied the allegations.

The EU new antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager has stated that she prefers legal charges being brought up, in instances of competition cases, instead of opting for negotiated settlements. Unlike her predecessor who unsuccessfully tried to reach a settlement with the search giant in more than three occasions.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) remains the dominant search engine in Europe handling more than 90% of searches in the continent, much higher than its market share in the U.S.. Shopping sites have many at times complained that when consumers use Google to search products online, Google relegates products from rival sites to lower positions in the search page.

Unlike in the U.S., legal hurdles in building an antitrust case in Europe are lower as the commission acts as a prosecutor, judge, and jury. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) would be given three months to make a case that its action did not violate any antitrust laws in the EU, should the agency file charges. Should Google be found guilty of any violations, it would be fined as much as 10% of its annual revenue.

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Viraj Shah

Viraj loves to write and express his views on anything related to Finance, Crypto, or Fintech. He has been covering Finance & Crypto for more than five years now. He likes Tesla. He also writes on Healthcare, and Technology among other stuff.

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