Google faces force of 'aggressive EU regulators' over 'dominance in search, ad business'
Washington, July 23 (ANI): Internet search giant Google is facing the force of aggressive European regulators who have accused the firm of using its power over the Internet search market to squeeze competitors out, according to a report.
Officials at Google are negotiating furiously in the hope of avoiding a four billion dollar fine and a formal ruling that it has abused its dominance in the search market to hurt rivals.
According to The Washington Post, whether Google gets labeled a 'monopolist' or not is largely in the hands of Joaquin Almunia, a former Spanish labor leader and onetime Socialist candidate for prime minister, who is the European Union's top anti-trust enforcer.
Almunia has pushed hard for a negotiated settlement in the hope of avoiding a years-long battle of the type that European regulators once waged with Microsoft over its Windows operating system.
According to the paper, Almunia already has determined that the Google anti-trust claims merit serious treatment, given that the company has more than 90 percent of the search market in some European countries.
But having a monopoly is not a violation of law in this case. A company must abuse its dominance of a market to run afoul of regulators, the paper said.
According to the paper, Almunia's office has outlined four potential abuses of dominance in preliminary filings.
During an the interview, Almunia expressed particular concern that Google may be altering its results in a way that keeps users from having access to the best possible services, especially ones that compete with Google's offerings.
Meanwhile, analysts believe the risk to Google goes beyond the potential for fines because their business has long depended on users believing that search results are crafted primarily to serve their needs, and not those of the advertisers.
According to the paper, a finding of abusive monopolistic behavior threatens to undermine its carefully cultivated public image. (ANI)
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