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Factbox: Regulatory probes Google is facing in Asia, Europe

10/20/2020 | 03:16pm

(Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc's Google, possibly asking a court to break up the $1 trillion search and advertising giant.

Here's a list of the current investigations and reviews into the alleged anticompetitive practices at Google across Asia and Europe.

Australia:

Australia sued Google in July for misleading consumers to get permission for use of their personal data for targeted advertising. The country's antitrust regulator has also warned that Google's planned $2.1 billion acquisition of fitness tracker maker Fitbit may give it too much of people's data, potentially hurting competition in health and online advertising markets.

The regulator also wants independent mediators to decide how much Google pays media companies for republishing their content. Google, which responded by saying its main search engine may be at risk in Australia as a result, has announced a plan to pay $1 billion to publishers globally for their news over the next three years.

China:

China is preparing to launch an antitrust probe looking into allegations that Google leveraged the dominance of its Android mobile operating system to stifle competition, Reuters reported last month, citing sources.

The case has been submitted by the country's top market regulator to the State Council's antitrust committee for review, the sources said.

Google's main search platform has been blocked in China since 2010 but it still has some business in the country, such as advertising sales.

Europe:

The European Union has been at the forefront of probing antitrust issues against Google, since launching its first investigation in 2010.

The EU competition enforcer handed a fine to Google in 2017 for favoring its own price-comparison shopping service against those of smaller European rivals. Two further decisions for different issues since https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-tech-google-antitrust-analysis-idUSKBN242623 then have lifted the total penalty to 8.25 billion euros.

It is currently https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fitbit-m-a-alphabet-eu-idUSKBN2711N2 investigating Google's $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit.

India:

Reuters, citing sources, reported this month that Google is facing a new antitrust case in India for allegedly abusing its Android operating system's position in the smart television market.

The case is Google's fourth major antitrust challenge in India.

In 2018, the country's anti-competition regulator fined Google for "search bias," but a company appeal against that is pending. The regulator is also probing Google for allegedly misusing its dominant position to reduce the ability of smartphone makers to opt for alternate versions of Android, as well as reviewing a case alleging that Google unfairly promotes its mobile payments app in the country.

Japan:

Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said on Monday it will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies - Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

South Korea:

South Korea's antitrust regulator said earlier this month it was reviewing Google's plans to charge 30% commissions for in-app purchases made through its to application store, widening scrutiny that started with the country's telecom regulator.

(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh in Singapore, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Heekyong Yang in Seoul, Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo, Byron Kaye in Sydney and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm,; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Louise Heavens)

© Reuters 2020
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