Time to dig deep.
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) , the parent of internet search giant Google, could face a record fine from European antitrust authorities Wednesday, according to multiple media reports, following a lengthy investigation into contracts that tie makers of android-operated smartphones to the exclusive sale of its apps.
Google, which was fined a then-record €2.4 billion by the European Competition Commission for denying “other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate” in the market for price comparison searches on its website, could face billions more in levies for allegedly compelling smartphone makers to take Google services, including its web browser, when they want licensing access to the Google Play store. Bloomberg news has reported the fine could be as high as €4.2 billion ($4.9 billion) while other European media outlets put the total in the €4 billion range. Britain’s Financial Times pegged the fine at $11 billion last month.
“The commission’s case is based on the idea that Android doesn’t compete with Apple’s iOS,” Google general counsel Kent Walker said in a statement earlier this month. “We don’t see it that way. We don’t think Apple does either. Or phonemakers. Or developers. Or users.” Android is used by 80% of the world’s smartphones.
Google shares were seen 1.24% lower in pre-market trading in New York, indicating an opening bell price of $1,198.00 each, a move that would trim its year-to-date gain to just under 14%.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is set to make an official statement at 7:00 am eastern time