European regulators are cracking down on some of the world’s biggest tech giants. Since an initial complaint against Google in 2010, regulators continue to file complaints on other leaders in the industry. With ongoing complaints, these companies may soon see a drop in profits, affecting their overall operations.
In 2010, the European Commission first began investigating Google regarding anti-trust issues. The Commission claims that Google’s search results violated the privacy of searchers and their “Right to be Forgotten.” In 2014, it was ruled that Google had violated this right and search engines must delete links to personal information. The Commission is now pressuring Google to apply this ruling in other areas of the world. In April of this year, the chief of the European Union’s anti-trust division filed another formal complaint against Google. This time, the tech giant is being accused of abusing its web dominance to divert traffic from rivals onto Google’s own e-commerce sites and other services. The European Commission has also begun complaint proceedings into whether or not Google’s Android software forces phone manufacturers to use Google services and apps.
Google’s not the only one in hot water. The European Commission has been involved in an ongoing anti-trust lawsuit with Microsoft for other reasons. Microsoft has been fined over 2 billion euros over the past ten years, including an additional penalty in 2013 for failure to address earlier settlements. These complaints were filed on the grounds of software interoperability. Microsoft announced last year that it will follow Google’s ruling and will remove personal information links from its Bing search engine.
Earlier in April, European privacy officials in France, Italy, and Spain announced that they are now investigating Facebook’s privacy policies, following already existing claims from the Dutch, Belgian, and German governments. The officials are investigating whether Facebook had user approval in accessing online data and histories.
Lastly, both Apple and Amazon are facing scrutiny for tax laws. Antitrust officials in Europe began investigations against Apple in June of last year as to whether the company received special tax treatment in Ireland. This comes in addition to another antitrust investigation of Apple possibly dominating the marketplace in an effort to snuff out rival music streaming companies and labels. In January of this year, the European Commission announced preliminary findings in which a deal between Amazon and the country of Luxembourg resulted in state aid that allowed Amazon to underpay taxes.