MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — Google is battening down the hatches after the European Union issued a formal list of grievances accusing the Mountain View-based company of abusing its power as the world’s most dominant search engine.
The so-called Statement of Objections is the result of a 5-year long antitrust investigation, with particular focus on GoogleShopping and comparison results, in general. The Commission found that Google’s own services rank highest on the page, putting European competitors at a disadvantage and creating a monopolistic business environment.
Further, the Commission is investigating allegations the company is requiring smartphone manufacturers to install Google apps and services and making it difficult, in not impossible for outside developers to develop other OS versions of Android.
The Commission is threatening Google with a $6 billion fine, roughly 10% of the tech giant’s revenue for 2014, if they fail to negotiate an amiable agreement that satisfies the Commission’s concerns.
Google accounts for 90% of all searches in European countries. The company issued an internal memo obtained by Techcrunch, insisting its search engine actually creates an environment that promotes competition. It points to the success of Amazon and eBay as evidence that GoogleShopping has done no harm.
The letter ends telling employees not to comment on the matter:
…we know the upcoming announcements will be distracting. But you can help in two ways. First, by not commenting on pending legal issues, internally or externally. And second, by focusing on what you all do best … building great products that serve our users and customers.
Meantime, according to the Financial Times, French lawmakers are considering a law that would force Google to reveal its search algorithm. Germany made a similar move in 2014, and Google refused.