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Q1 Now The Deadline For Decision On EU Antitrust Complaint Against Google
According to Reuters European regulators are going to decide by the end of Q1 2012 (March) about the filing of a formal antitrust case against Google. Apparently this timing is much sooner than expected. The European investigation began a little more than a year ago in November 2010.
The European Commission investigation arose out of formal anti-competition complaints filed by three companies: Foundem, eJustice and Ciao (owned by Microsoft). Since that time other companies have separately filed formal complaints, including Microsoft, bringing to total number to roughly 10 filings.
In the context of a formal case against Google, which has yet to be determined, the European Commission could ultimately impose fines of up to 10 percent of annual gross revenues. That could amount to more than $3 billion. The EU made Microsoft pay billions in fines several years ago for antitrust violations.
While speculation over outcomes is very premature, I would be surprised if the European Commission decided to do nothing and simply walk away.
Google is also facing an antitrust inquiry in the United States. And just as the Golden Globes exert influence over the Oscars, the actions of the European Commission will probably be influential upon US regulators.
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