The 17 Biggest News Stories Of 2017

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11. Google Hit With $2.7 Billion Fine By European Union, Other Companies Handed Bills For Back-Taxes

European Union regulators had charged Google with allegedly engaging in antitrust behavior by giving its own comparison shopping service an "illegal" advantage and using its dominant position in Internet search to stifle competition. So Google was braced for a hefty fine.

But observers were stunned June 27 when the European Commission hit Google with a whopping $2.7 billion fine in the case, the largest ever imposed by the governing body. It far exceeds the $1.2 billion fine the EC levied against Intel in 2009 in another antitrust case.

The Google fine wasn't the only case of the European Union playing hardball with U.S. IT companies in 2017.

The EU charged that Apple owed 13 billion Euro ($15.4 billion) in back taxes because of an alleged unfair tax deal in Ireland. The EU took Ireland to court over the dispute in October. But in December Apple agreed to pay the disputed amount of money into an escrow account while it appealed the case in court. In an interview with the Irish Independent newspaper in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the dispute "total political crap."

In October EU ordered Amazon to pay 250 million Euro (nearly $294 million) in unpaid back taxes.

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