According to several reports, formal charges over alleged breach of antitrust rules in Europe may be filed against Google as early as Wednesday. However, it may take lengthy years of waiting before any impact can be felt on people who utilized the service, even in Europe.
The charge, alleging that Google diverted traffic from competing search engine companies to its own services – maps, news, shopping videos to name a few – will be filed by Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner. As reported by tech news site Re/Code, an internal memo it has managed to obtain has revealed that the search giant is expecting the European Union to also open a formal investigation into Google’s Android mobile software.
This case would follow 5-years worth of investigation that fell apart last year when French and German officials caused a massive stir, with Microsoft and other rival companies and publishers. This renewed initiative may be the biggest antitrust case next to Microsoft. Google could be facing liabilities equaling to as much as 10% of its revenues (more or less $6 Billion) and may be directed to essentially revamp how searching and other related services it offers work.
However, all this speculations on possible sanctions that Google maybe facing will take years before any resolution may take place depending on how the involved parties play out their cards. This case will also prove to be very tricky since the harm the breach in antitrust law to consumers must be proven, a feat that is hard to prove. This is the reason why Google managed to dodge the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit on a similar issue a few years ago in the US. The lawsuit may have prompted Google to make some changes but end-results hardly made any dent on how people utilized Google’s services.
One thing though is for certain in this lawsuit. It’s not really on the harm perceived to consumers that will make weight on Google’s case. Rather, it’s the political pressure from rivals and entities with high stakes that will decide whether charges will be filed and the gravity of penalties and remedies to be taken.