Google Faces Antitrust Probe in Europe
The media has begun to speculate that the E.C. investigation will be the beginning of a string of aggressive antitrust actions against Google, not unlike those Microsoft faced in the U.S. and Europe beginning with the "United States vs. Microsoft" case in 1998. That case alleged that the world's largest software company used its market share in PC operating systems to gain market share for its Internet Explorer browser. Related actions taken by the E.C. lasted for over a decade and were only in their final settlement stages late last year. The E.C. forced Microsoft to pay $1.7 billion in fines as part of its antitrust actions against the company. Redmond's legal fees were certainly in the tens of millions of dollars.
The Google matter revolves around whether it uses its algorithms to screen out the sites of its competitors. Google is so dominate in the search industry that it would seem to have little reason to do that, especially in light of the legal repercussions. But large companies are not immune to making stupid decisions. If Google did act illegally, it may face a long series of government investigations which could spread beyond Europe.