Florian Wagner-von Papp, director of the University College London's Institute of Global Law, said the EU's latest fine against Google shouldn't be viewed as a strategy to bolster European companies.
"The decision is not to be interpreted as a protectionist measure," Wagner-von Papp said. "It is merely the case that in the EU, enforcement against unilateral abuses of dominant firms is more vigorous in general, and the dominant firms in the new economy tend to come from the U.S."
Many believe that the EU's latest ruling could be used as a precedent for its decision in Google's other ongoing cases. Peter Willis, co-head of competition and EU at Bird & Bird law firm, said it's "not unlikely that we will see similar decisions" in the two other cases, one of which deals with Google's Android operating system, another with its AdSense advertising service. The decision could also serve as a precedent for charges levied against other Silicon Valley giants.
Others say it may stifle further innovation among major tech firms.
"The Commission has effectively decided that some companies have become too big to innovate," said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a tech policy thinktank, in a statement. "The Commission's actions have created a cloud of uncertainty that will make large tech companies overly cautious about making changes to the user experience and service offerings that would benefit consumers."
Not all U.S. companies disliked the EU's decision, however. Yelp Inc. (YELP) , Oracle Corp. (ORCL) , News Corp. (NWSA) and several other companies published a joint letter in support of the charges, saying that Google has "undermined competition in the U.S. and abroad," according to Politico. In a statement on Tuesday, the Rupert Murdoch-controlled publisher News Corp (NWSA) said it applauded the Commission's decision.
"Google has profited from commodifying content and enabling the proliferation of flawed and fake news, to the detriment of journalism and of an informed society," the company said.
The Commission's hefty antitrust fine against Google doesn't bode well for any company whose business has become as ubiquitous as the internet giant's. If companies such as Google or Apple have to treat their competitors' services no worse than their own, it could have "huge implications" for them, Wagner-von Papp said.
The decision also sheds light on the increasingly complicated question of who should regulate major multinational companies, said Bob O'Donnell president of TECHnalysis Research.
"Arguably it falls on everybody and it falls on nobody," O'Donnell said. "A lot of these technologies are relatively universal...and so there is no easy answer, but moving forward, [fines] are going to be increasingly common."