The European Commission’s record-breaking €4.34 billion ($5.1b) fine against Google is by no means the first time that the EU’s watchdog has taken action against an American tech company. In fact, Google itself got a taste of EU antitrust regulation as recently as last year. In June 2017, the company was fined €2.42 billion ($2.7b) for abusing its dominance as a search engine to give an illegal advantage to Google Shopping over other comparison shopping services.
As the following chart illustrates, other tech giant’s have felt the wrath of the European Commission as well. Microsoft alone has been fined four times over the past two decades including three times for allegedly ignoring previous antitrust sanctions and for breaking promises made in an earlier antitrust settlement. The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has made U.S. tech companies a central focus, cracking down on anticompetitive behaviour, tax avoidance and mishandling of user privacy.