The European Union on Wednesday accused Google of illegally abusing its internet search market dominance to favour the company’s own services over rivals.
The antitrust charges are the result of a five-year EU investigation into Google’s business practices. Google is being charged for breaching competition law by diverting traffic from rivals to favor its own services. The search giant currently boasts a 90 per cent share in Europe’s search engine market.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the U.S. Company had been sent a Statement of Objections – effectively a charge sheet – to which it has 10 weeks to 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.”
If Google is ultimately found guilty of violating the law, the Commission can fine the search giant roughly 10 percent of its annual sales which amounts up to 6.2 billion euros.
In a further blow to Google, the EU has also launched an antitrust probe into Google’s operating system for Android smartphones. The investigation will focus on whether the tech giant imposes restrictions on phone makers to force them to favor their own apps, such as YouTube.
The tech giant said it “strongly disagreed” with the allegations and looked forward to making its case.