Europe has imposed a record fine on Google. But it’s probably too little, too late.
The €4.34 billion ($5 billion) penalty announced Wednesday by the European Commission is the latest salvo in an extended battle between Google and regulators in Brussels, who have subjected the tech company to three antitrust investigations.
The fine may be a record, but it’s one that Google () can absorb without too much pain. And the penalty won’t cause Europeans to fall out of love with Google’s popular Android operating system or its ubiquitous smartphone apps.
- n. 齐射；齐鸣；齐声欢呼喝彩；保留条款；遁辞
- adj. 普遍存在的；无所不在的
Still, the ruling could encourage regulators in Europe and spark more complaints over the behavior of Google and other tech companies.
“Plaintiffs that were not sure whether they have a case will now feel emboldened and may be more confident to challenge Google,” said Nicolas Petit, a professor at the University of Liege and visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
He said content creators could be the next to take on Google over its handling of intellectual property.
“Google is a company with a lot of enemies, including in the United States,” he said. “Lots of people will be inclined to read the decision as a form of discriminatory, protectionist behavior by the European Union, but … the complaints often come from US companies.”
Google said that it would appeal the decision.
“Android has created more choice for everyone, not less,” it said in a statement. “A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation and lower prices are the classic hallmarks of robust competition.”
- n. 原告
be inclined to：
- conj. 倾向于…；有意
- adj. 振动的；充满生气的；响亮的；战栗的
- n. 特点；品质证明
- vt. 给…盖上品质证明印记；使具有…标志
Apple (), Amazon ( ) and Facebook ( ) have also been penalised by European regulators in recent years, leading to allegations that US companies have been unfairly targeted.
It’s a charge that top EU antitrust official Margrethe Vestager has refuted.
“No matter what the political context … if you breach Europe’s antitrust rules and we find out, there will be a penalty, there is no surprise,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
Tech companies have also been forced this year to bring their operations into compliance with GDPR, a new set of EU regulations that give consumers much more control over their personal data. Changes to copyright law that would affect tech firms are also being considered.
Google has responded by beefing up its lobbying efforts in the European Union. It spent between $6.1 million and $6.4 million on EU lobbying in 2016, according to official data. That compares to $700,000 in 2011.
n. 指控; 陈述，主张; 宣称; 陈词，陈述;
- n. 顺从，服从；承诺
总的来说，这些大的网络科技公司总是很容易就摊上事，动不动就会被罚钱，但是问题是，Do they really care？