News: The announcement is expected to be made as early as next month.
Google could be hit with a record fine of approximately €3bn by the European Commission, following the long-running antitrust case against the the company’s alleged misuse of its dominant position in the online search market.
The Telegraph reported the potential record-breaking penalty, but noted that the figure has not been finalised yet. The announcement is expected to be made as early as next month.
Apart from the fine, Google would have to modify its search practices to be in line with European law.
The company will also be barred from continuing to manipulate search results to favour itself and harm competitors, the newspaper said.
The Commission can fine companies 10% of their annual sales, which in Google’s case would be a maximum potential sanction of over €6bn.
The European Commission says in its antitrust factsheet: "The starting point for the fine is the percentage of the company’s annual sales of the product concerned in the infringement (up to 30 percent). This is then multiplied by the number of years and months the infringement lasted.
"The fine can be increased (e.g. repeat offender) or decreased (e.g. limited involvement). The maximum level of fine is capped at 10 percent of the overall annual turnover of the company."
The biggest antitrust fine so far was a €1.1bn fine imposed on chip-maker Intel in 2009.
Google has been fighting European antitrust charges for seven years. The main focus has been on the company’s shopping search service, which regulators allege that it favored over rivals in its general search results.
The company is also facing other investigations in the region, including into its Android mobile operating system (OS).
Last month, the EU charged Google for its abusive dominance of the European smartphone market with its Android OS.
EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said the company’s "behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players."