Google and Facebook's EU Problem Isn't Going Away Anytime Soon

Google grabbed headlines late last month when the European Commission handed it a record-breaking  $2.7 billion antitrust fine for abusing its dominance as a search engine. 

While the penalty was historic in its size, the decision against the Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) unit is hardly an isolated case. Instead, it's the opposite, being one of a growing number of cases where the European Union has cracked down on a Silicon Valley giant over matters concerning competition, taxes and privacy. Google, Facebook Inc. (FB) , Apple Inc. (AAPL) , Inc. (AMZN) and Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) have all found themselves in the sights of the European Union's foremost antitrust regulator on various occasions.

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On Wednesday, Google was handed a rare reprieve, however, when a French court threw out a roughly $1.3 billion tax judgment against the company. The French tax administration argued that the search giant owed taxes for the years 2005 to 2010. French officials have said they will appeal the decision.  
Despite Google's win on Wednesday, the EU doesn't pose any less of a threat to Silicon Valley.

Google still faces several ongoing antitrust battles with the EU surrounding its Android and AdSense businesses. Facebook could also become a target of the EU if Germany's Federal Cartel Office can establish a link between Facebook's data collection practices and its market power. The antitrust watchdog is currently investigating whether Facebook's dominance has given consumers no choice but to agree to its terms and conditions -- a practice the Cartel Office describes as "extorting" information from users.

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