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US tech giants facing antitrust probes won’t find respite in Google-EU fight

Yves Herman
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has fined Google billions over the years
By Max de Haldevang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The four biggest jewels in America’s tech crown took a pummeling in the markets today after various reports predicted the US government would step up its antitrust oversight. A look at Google’s long history of antitrust tussles with the European Commission suggests many more years of disquiet.

The European Union has slapped Google with antitrust charges totaling $9.5 billion over the last decade. Despite being the largest punishments it has ever handed out, the amounts are pretty small change for a monolith like Google. Twists in the long-running saga, however, resulted some days in billions in market capitalization losses for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Inc.

Nov. 30, 2010
$8.4 billion
EU announces probe into allegations that Google abused its dominance in online search by promoting its own shopping service.
April 25-26, 2013
$4 billion
EU offers Google’s rivals chance to comment on the firm’s proposed concessions.
July 18-19, 2013
$7.3 billion
EU demands more concessions from Google.
Sept. 8-9, 2014
$6.5 billion
EU demands yet more concessions.
April 13-14, 2015
$6 billion
EU says it will formally charge Google with antitrust violations; opens a separate probe into Android.
April 20, 2016
$0.9 billion
EU charges Google with antitrust violation over alleged abuse of Android’s dominance.
June 27, 2017
$16.1 billion
EU fines Google a record $2.7 billion for favoring its shopping service in searches, gives the company 90 days to stop doing so.
July 18, 2018
$10.5 billion
EU fines Google $5.1 billion for using Android’s dominance to favor its search engine, gives the company 90 days to stop.
March 20, 2019
Shares climb
EU fines Google $1.7 billion for forcing AdSense customers not to accept business from its rivals

The only time Alphabet’s market capitalization came away unscathed was in March this year, but that case is related to a relatively small part of the company’s business—advertising technology firm, AdSense—and Google cooperated with that probe. The company is appealing the other two fines.

The markets’ brutal response today to reports of US antitrust probes suggests that Google’s tribulations won’t end any time soon. And now the other US tech behemoths will likely face their own.

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