Google is in a world of trouble from governments everywhere

Major countries from every continent have either filed lawsuits against Google or are probing the company
Shown the mirror.
Shown the mirror.
Photo: MIKE BLAKE (Reuters)
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Being successful is risky business. Around the world, nine out of every ten web searches run on Google—but that kind of profitable dominance also invites scrutiny and suspicion.

Governments in every continent are now setting up hurdles in the path of Alphabet and its search giant Google, charging the company with antitrust or privacy law violations.

Most recently, India’s antitrust agency, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), slapped penalties totaling $275 million on Google for abusing its dominance in the Indian mobile developer market.

India is, by far, Google’s largest market for users of its Android smartphone OS. But it is not alone in pursuing action against the company.

All the countries where Google is already in trouble...

🇪🇺 European Union: Officials are looking into whether Google’s anti-competitive practices have harmed app developers. The company has been fined for stifling competition through the dominance of Android. The EU has already fined Google more than $8.2 billion in recent years over antitrust practices.

🇺🇸 United States: An ongoing lawsuit against Google alleges that the company has monopolized the ad-tech market and beat down competition by abusing its access to data.

🇰🇷 South Korea: A privacy commission fined Google $50 million for violating privacy laws, using data from other websites as well as apps to generate customized advertisements. Google is also being investigated for potentially violating South Korea’s rules governing in-app payments.

🇬🇧 United Kingdom: Alphabet faces lawsuits over anti-competitive digital advertising practices and over-pricing app store purchases.

🇮🇳 India: The Competition Commission of India has penalized Google for monopolizing its Play Store payment system, and for abusing its dominance in the Android ecosystem.

🇫🇷 France: Google paid $528 million in fines to resolve a dispute related to news publishers displaying copyrighted content.

🇦🇺 Australia: A court ordered Google to pay $43 million in penalties for misleading users on collection of their personal location data.

🇳🇱 Netherlands: Apart from a lawsuit over its digital advertising practices, Google is also embroiled in a probe over its app Play Store payment rules, very similar to the ongoing Indian case.

🇷🇺 Russia: In July, Russia fined Google $34 million for suspending and blocking accounts on its YouTube video service. Google’s Russian subsidiary has already filed for bankruptcy, after the government seized its bank account.

...and all the countries that are stepping up scrutiny

🇮🇩 Indonesia: An antitrust agency is probing Google for potential unfair business practices over its Play Store payment services.

🇯🇵 Japan: An ongoing investigation is determining whether Google has unfairly leveraged its dominance over the markets for phones, smartwatches, and other wearables.

🇿🇦 South Africa: A competition commission has made provisional recommendations for how Google should display search pages, to better distinguish between paid advertising and traditional organic search results. Google promised to “work constructively” with the commision but has not mentioned revamping its search pages.

🇩🇪 Germany: The German government is examining Google’s content licensing deals with news publishers and its data processing terms.

🇮🇹 Italy: An antitrust inquiry is investigating whether Google has abused its dominant position by hindering data portability rights.

🇨🇦 Canada: The Competition Bureau is seeking more information on whether Google behaved in anti-competitive ways in the online advertising industry.