Even though it seemed like Google might be able to avoid antitrust charges in Europe and walk away from a five-year investigation mostly unscathed (which is what happened in the U.S.), the Search giant might not be so lucky, The Wall Street Journal reports.
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Google attempted more than once to settle the case in the region, promising various concessions related to its search practices, but the EU still isn’t happy.
According to the Journal, the EU plans to move against Google in the coming weeks, “setting the stage for charges” against the company.
The European Commission has been asking companies that filed complaints against Google in the region to allow it to make some of the information they submitted public. These requests are apparently a “strong indication” that formal antitrust charges are being prepared against Google, or at least that’s what unnamed antitrust experts said.
The publication says a settlement is still possible, even if charges are filed. An antitrust case against Google would be the EU’s most important suit against a corporation since Microsoft’s similar issues in the region. Microsoft ended up having to pay $1.8 billion in fines in its antitrust case.
Recently revealed documentation from the FTC case against Google, which mistakenly reached the press, revealed that FTC officials looking into Google’s search business practices in the U.S. found the company broke antitrust laws, advising legal action against Google. However, the FTC voted against pursuing charges against Google.