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Google reportedly facing record €1bn penalty in EU antitrust case

The internet giant is reportedly facing record fines

Google is reported to be facing record-breaking penalities from EU officials for favouring its own comparison shopping service in its search results.

Both the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have cited sources familiar with the case as saying that the European Commission is preparing to announce the first of its trio of antitrust decisions around the company's business practices in the market.

Last year, the EU Commission has issued charges against Google's parent company Alphabet stating that "Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages."

In 2016, Google’s general counsel, Kent Walker, said the EU's case lacked evidence, saying the the Commission’s revised case "still rests on a theory that just doesn’t fit the reality of how most people shop online." Commentators have suggested the company is likely to appeal forthcoming decisions in the European courts, which could delay a resolution by years.

There has been ongoing speculation around the payout Brussells will ultimately sting Google with, but fresh reports from the WSJ allege that this particular fee could reach as much as 10% of the tech behemoth's annual revenue, which was more than $90bn in 2016.

The European Commission has not released an official statement on the timing of a formal announcement, while Google has yet to publicly comment on the latest reports.

The antitrust body hit Apple with a $13bn tax bill last summer, prompting chief executive Tim Cook to pen a lengthy letter in a bid to combat the outcome of the three-year investigation.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in social media marketing and wider industry news. Based in Glasgow, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

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