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EU GOES AFTER GOOGLE—UPDATE

It's now formal and official. EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has formally accused Google of abusing its dominance in web searches to the detriment of competitors and has begun official proceedings into whether Android software forces phone makers to favor the company’s own apps and services.

“If the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe,” said Vestager.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Vestager was about to pounce.

The move ramps up a five-year investigation that is set to become the biggest competition battle in Brussels since the EU went after Microsoft a decade ago. 

The EU's action is “very bad news” for Google, Ioannis Lianos, a Professor of Global Competition Law at University College London, told the WSJ. “It means that [EU regulators] don’t want to settle case, they want to adopt an infringement decision,” which could lead to fines and injunctions. Those fines could theoretically exceed $6 billion.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that European regulators have singled out Silicon Valley tech giants as targets of scrutiny. They do not think these filthy-rich Yanks play fair and will take advantage of European consumers if left unchecked.  

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