If you read my article from last week, EU’s first salvo at Google, I said more would be coming. So, it was no surprise to learn that the European Union antitrust regulators are considering another record fine against Google. This time involving it’s Android mobile operating system. The Commission’s own panel charged Google with using its operating system clout to shut out rivals in April of last year. Now, they have set up a separate panel of experts, asking for a second opinion. Does anyone believe this second panel will disagree with the initial conclusion?
Keeping in mind that last week’s fine was the largest ever imposed in an antitrust case, $2.7 billion (2.4 billion euro), what are the chances that the EU will hold back on an even more lucrative fine? Little to none, I’d say. The regulators have the biggest cash cow ever on the ropes with an even larger and more far-reaching punitive fine within reach. We’re talking Android here. By far, the most dominant operating system on Earth. The potential to grab even more cash from Mountain View, while dictating all future terms of business practices in Europe is the equivalent of ‘unlimited power’. Akin to the power of a Sith lord or emperor. Except that this is the real world, not a movie series. A decision by this second panel could still be months away, but I expect the result is a forgone conclusion.
The European Union is simply continuing down the path that lawmakers usually walk, when they realize they have total control. It’s nothing new. But, I expect, being able to gouge this much money from a corporation on an ongoing basis may be. I would have to believe that Amazon, Apple and Facebook are keeping a close eye on developments. Since, they will most likely be next.
It is unknown, whether the new panel has even started work as yet. But, you can bank on the fact that there will be more to com.
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