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EU prepares anti-competition case against Google: reports

Search giant could face legal action, fines up to $6.6bn

Law and regulation, IT Business, Google Incorporated

The European Union is preparing to launch an anti-competition case investigation against Google, according to a number of reports.

While a formal list of charges does not yet exist, an announcement is expected today from Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, following the EU executive's weekly meeting. Vestager will reportedly accuse Google of breaching competition laws in the bloc, by favouring its own services in search results.

If the charges are upheld, the EU can fine Google up to 10% of the company's global revenues, which would be $6.6bn in penalties, based on 2014 sales figures.

Google has long been accused of anti-competitive practices in its domestic market. Rival Microsoft has been a prominent critic, slamming Google for placing its travel services above those of Expedia and others, and making its YouTube video service incompatible with Windows Phone mobile handsets, while the service works with Google-owned Android.

But Google insisted the EU probe, while "disappointing", was of little concern.

"We have a very strong case, with especially good arguments when it comes to better services for users and increased competition," said an internal memo, according to tech site Re/code.