EU charges Tech giant over shopping searches, plans to probe Android

The EU's regulatory anti-trust commission has alleged that Google has been favoring its Google Shopping service over other competitors in its Internet searches. The Commission has also said that it intends to look into Google's Android Operating System.

Google may face heavy fines if found guilty.

The European Union today alleged that Google is cheating competitors by distorting Internet search results in favor of its GoogleShopping service and also launched an anti-trust probe into the search giant’s Android mobile operating system.

In a statement circulated today, E.U competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the tech giant, which dominates all other Internet search engines globally, had been sent a Statement of Objections- basically a charge sheet –by the commission, to which it can respond.

"I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules," she said. "If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe."

A fine of up to 10% of a corporation’s annual sales –or a penalty of over $6billion in Google’s case- can be levelled against corporations who flout the regulations of the Commission, whose control of antitrust matters across the wealthy 28- nation bloc give it a major say in the fate of such corporations.

There has not been any official statement from Google since the allegations were made but an internal memo to staff described the Commissions moves as “very disappointing news” and said: "We have a very strong case, with especially good arguments when it comes to better services for users and increased competition."

As regards the formal investigation into Android, Vestager said: "I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anticompetitive constraints imposed by any company."

Google has an initial period of 10 weeks to respond and can also demand a hearing. Resolution of the problem however, could result in court action- if Google does not choose to settle- which could take months and even years.

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