March 21, 2019

The EU charges Google $1.7B in fines… but that’s probably in the budget by now

The EU once again has charged Google for manipulating search results, its 3rd multibillion-dollar fine since 2017.

The European Union fined Google $1.7B for violating online advertising antitrust rules. 

For Google, it’s business as usual: This is Google’s 3rd multibillion-dollar fine since 2017 — and it likely won’t be the last.

The EU’s long antitrust battle with Google

The EU launched an investigation into Google’s search algorithm in 2010 after smaller internet companies complained Big G was unfairly boosting its own goodies in search.

After 7 years, the EU accused Google of manipulating search results in 2017, levying a fine of $2.7B.

Then, in 2018, the EU fined Google $5B for forcing phone makers using Google’s Android operating system to install Google’s search and web apps. Now the EU’s going after Google’s restrictive 3rd-party ad contracts.

Google is fine with fines

Google now owes the EU about $9.3B — equivalent to the market caps of Groupon, Bed Bath and Beyond, Office Depot, Papa Johns, Sonos, and GoPro combined.

But the craziest part? Google has yet to pay a dime. The search giant is appealing the first 2 fines, and deciding whether to appeal the 3rd. 

Plus, paying up wouldn’t be a big deal for Googs: Last year, Alphabet did $137B in annual revenue.

The EU has established itself as big tech’s baddest watchdog. But these first few fines were levied a decade late: $9.3B in fines is nothing for Google, and a $14.5B penalty is small potatoes for a big Apple.

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