Google unlikely to have life easy in EU

While Google might have been slapped by a wet bus ticket in the land of the fee, the anti-trust watchdogs in the EU are expected to be a lot tougher.

Last week there was an outcry as the US anti-trust watchdog, the FTC, chose to largely ignore Google’s antics on search advertising. This came after freshly lobbied Senate heavyweights leaned on the body not to be too hard on Google. In the end the FTC said there was not enough evidence to pursue a big search-bias case.

But indications from the EU are that it will not have it so easy across the pond. Reuters quotes Michael Jennings, a spokesman for the European Commission, as saying that things will be a little different.

It had taken note of the FTC decision, but Jennings doesn’t think that it has any direct implications for the European investigation or its discussions with Google.

Loosely translated, this means that Google will have shown the EU what it agreed with the US regulators and the Commission will say it’s not enough.

Google was given a month in December to come up with detailed proposals to resolve its investigation. If it fails to address the complaints and is found guilty, Google could eventually be fined up to 10 percent of its revenue – a fine of up to $4 billion.

The EU is not keen to take Google to court, but neither is it likely to let the company off in the same way that the US did.

What might happen instead is that the EU will insist on tougher conditions than its US counterparts. Google will eventually agree and will have to impose the conditions worldwide.