The world’s leading internet giant Google, by Alphabet Inc., received a penalty of $ 5 billion recently. The charges were abusing its dominant position which is enjoyed by its Android OS, in the market. The record fin is the maximum ever imposed on a technology company in the region of the European Union.
The EU is now termed as a ‘technology battleground’. This is due to the long-standing and tough record of imposing heavy penalties, especially on the technology firms. Also, it has stringent rules on issues pertaining to competition, online content management and control, data protection, and taxation.
Technology Companies Suffer Penalties by the EU
Here is a list of the top fines imposed by the European Union authorities on technology companies. These were imposed over the last decade and a half.
- In March 2004, Microsoft suffered a penalty of $578 million. The imposing authority was the EU Competition Commission. The charges were flouting of antitrust rules. It was noticed that Microsoft was forcing Windows users to use Windows Media Player. The instructions included stopping this practice immediately.
- In July 2006, Microsoft was penalized yet again for not adhering to the 2004 ruling. The fine amount was $325n million.
- In February 2008, Microsoft faced a record penalty amounting to $ 1 billion for failing compliance to the 2004 decision. Later, the penalty amount was reduced to $ 955 million.
- In December 2009, the same ruling authority opened doors for third-party browsers on Windows as Microsoft was ordered to turn off internet explored. This allowed the users to use any other browser of choice.
- In May 2009, Intel Inc. received a penalty of $1.2 billion for bribing computer manufacturers to suspend or delay the release of products linked to chips made by AMD. This was an abuse of a dominant position.
- For running cartels, a group of consumer electronics manufacturers received a penalty of $1.7 billion in December 2012. This included Panasonic Corp., LG Electronics and Koninklijke Philips NV.
- In March 2013, Microsoft received a penalty of $653 million for non-compliance to the 2009 ruling.
- In August 2016, Apple Inc. received a penalty of paying unpaid taxes worth $14.6 billion.
- In May 2017, Facebook, the social media giant received a penalty of $122 million. The charges were misleading the European authorities about the WhatsApp acquisition.
- In June 2017, Google received a record penalty of $2.7 billion for using its search engine to drive users to its own shopping platform. The internet giant filed an appeal against the decision and the same remains pending.
- In January 2018, Qualcomm Inc. received a penalty of $1.2 billion on charges of paying Apple to not use chips made by competitors.
Many of these rulings still are not implemented. The affected companies often find legal routes to keep them pending.