Google’s more than decade long EU antitrust battle

1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Google app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration

By Foo Yun Chee

LUXEMBOURG – Google suffered a setback on Wednesday when Europe’s second-highest court dismissed its challenge to an EU antitrust ruling and 2.42 billion euro ($2.8 billion) fine in a major win for EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager.

The shopping case was the first of a trio of EU decisions that has seen Alphabet unit Google rack up a total of 8.25 billion euros in EU antitrust fines.

Here is a timeline of Google’s more than decade long fight with EU antitrust regulators over its business practices that have triggered complaints by rivals on both sides of the Atlantic as well as consumer groups.

* Sept 27 2021 – Google challenges 4.34 billion euro EU Android fine at five-day hearing at the General Court

* June 22 2021 – EU antitrust regulators open an investigation into Google’s digital advertising business to see if it favours its own services.

* June 9 2021 – Google bows to pressure from rivals and will let them compete for free to be the default search engines on Android devices in Europe, widening a pledge to EU antitrust regulators two years previously.

* March 20 2019 – EU antitrust enforcers hit Google with a 1.49 billion-euro fine for hindering rivals in online search advertising for a decade.

* July 18 2018 – EU antitrust regulators hand down a record 4.34 billion euro fine to Google over its Android mobile operating system after a three-year investigation.

* June 27 2017 – EU fines Google 2.42 billion euros for thwarting rival shopping comparison websites.

* July 14 2016 – EU sets out another charge against Google’s shopping service. It also accuses the company of preventing third parties using its AdSense product from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors – a third case against the company.

Related News:   Pentair results beat expectations on strong demand for fresh water tech

* April 20 2016 – EU sends a charge sheet to Google outlining the company’s anti-competitive practices with regard to Android smartphone makers and apps makers.

* April 15 2015 – EU opens investigation into Google’s Android smartphone operating system.

* April 15 2015 – EU charges Google with blocking competitors of its price comparison shopping service.

* Sept 2014 – Joaquin Almunia, European Competition Commissioner at the time, says he will not be able to wrap up the Google case before his mandate ends in October.

* May 2014 – Almunia says feedback from complainants will be crucial to determining whether he accepts Google’s concessions.

* Feb 5 2014 – Google improves its concessions related to online search.

* 2013 – Lobbying group FairSearch files a complaint about Google’s Android business practices to the European Commission.

* April 25 2013 – EU seeks feedback from rivals and users over Google’s concessions.

* April 3 2013 – Google offers concessions related to online search and its AdSense advertising network to address EU competition concerns, without admitting wrongdoing.

* Nov 30 2010 – European Commission opens investigation into allegations that Google has abused its dominant position in online searches following 18 complaints.

* 2010 – Microsoft complains about Google’s practices related to its AdSense advertising service.

* Nov 3 2009 – British price comparison site Foundem complains about Google’s online search to the European Commission.

(Reporting by Francois Aulner and Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Mark Potter)