EU antitrust regulators are weighing another record fine against Google over its Android mobile operating system, according to Reuters sources. As Sonia Legg reports they have also set up a panel of experts to give a second opinion on the case.
There's no love lost between European Union regulators and Google. They proved that last week with a record fine for unfairly favouring its shopping service. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMPETITION COMMISSIONER, MARGRETHE VESTAGER, SAYING: "It has denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate and, most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation." Now Reuters has discovered Google is in line for another blow - over Alphabet, its Android mobile operating systems. Antitrust regulators are expected to hit the U.S. giant even harder accusing it of shutting out rivals. SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES HUGHES, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, GKFX, SAYING: "It takes a lot to harm Google and it has incredibly deep pockets so that is one thing which is on Google's side. But the E.U. has very much had it in for Google for a long time." It has a third case underway too - involving Google AdSense. And then there's the old tax issue - the saga of where they base their operations isn't over yet. SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES HUGHES, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, GKFX, SAYING: "It's a continuation of trying to make sure that Google doesn't have that absolute monopoly. Now we know it is becoming incredibly difficult to do that and Google is an absolutely enormous company." Globally the tax situation for huge companies like Google is becoming an issue and is likely to be affected. So Google is not only going to have a problem with the EU but it's going to have a problem with the UK and other economies as well from a tax point of view." The EU says Google's tactics in the Android case include requiring smartphone makers to pre-install Google Search and the Chrome browser in return for access to other Google apps. And they say it bars the manufacturers from using rival versions of Android. It's reportedly set up a panel of experts to give a second opinion on the case. And their ruling is expected later this year.