Google is about to have a very big and very expensive fight on its hands. The Wall Street Journal reports that Europe's antitrust regulator has decided to file formal charges, which could "theoretically" result in penalties of up to $6 billion. The EU's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, has not announced her decision, but the Financial Times expects that to happen tomorrow. Regulators in Europe have been investigating Google for more than four years, and they've reportedly concluded that it has used its massive reach to steer Internet users away from competitors and toward its own services.
Vestager was already scheduled to fly to Washington tomorrow, and the official "statement of objections" could be released then. Once that happens, "things don’t look good for Google," observes a post at Quartz. "According to data gathered by ICOMP (pdf, p.2), no company has ever been cleared after a statement of objections has been issued." (In the US, the FTC investigated antitrust allegations against Google but opted in 2013 not to bring charges.)