The EU has officially charged Google with abusing its dominance of the search engine market.
The European Commission has sent a “statement of objections” to Google, which mentions the possibility of fining the company for abusing its power by favouring its own shopping service in rankings. It said that it will also explore whether the company has been unfairly making phone and tablet makers put Google services on their products.
“If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager wrote in an emailed statement published on Bloomberg. “I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anti-competitive constraints imposed by any company.”
The EU has repeatedly warned Google that it could begin proceedings against it, and last night rumours swirled that the European Commission would finally bring charges. It was previously thought that Google could make a settlement with European regulators, where the investigation would be dropped if the search engine made minor tweaks to how it works.
Google has ten weeks to respond to the statement of objections, and need not do so in public.