March 20 (Reuters) - European regulators have launched a series of probes against Big Tech. In the latest, Alphabet unit Google received a fine of 250 million euros ($271.03 million) in France for intellectual property breaches.

Here are some of the actions taken by European watchdogs to keep a tab on big technology companies:


Brussels fined Apple 1.84 billion euros on March 4, the iPhone maker's first ever EU antitrust penalty, following a 2019 complaint from Spotify. Apple criticised the EU decision, saying it would challenge it in court.

An advisor to Europe's top court said on Jan. 11 the court should uphold Google's EU antitrust fine of 2.42 billion euros. The European Commission fined the company in 2017 for using its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals.

The European Commission is probing if Microsoft is preventing customers from relying on certain security software provided by its competitors, according to a document that regulators sent to at least one rival of the company in January, seen by Reuters.

EU antitrust regulators said in the same month Microsoft's investment of over $10 billion in ChatGPT maker OpenAI may be subject to EU merger rules, following a similar warning from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last December.

Last November, EU antitrust regulators asked Microsoft's rivals whether the U.S. software giant's proposal to unbundle its chat and video app Teams from its Office product is sufficient to address their concerns, after the European Commission launched an investigation into its Office and Teams tie-up in July 2023.

Google may have to sell part of its lucrative adtech business to address concerns about anti-competitive practices, EU regulators said last June. Google criticised a potential order last December, saying it was disproportionate and not right for its advertising partners.

In March, the California-based company outlined changes to search results and new tools for app developers to promote their products on third-party apps and rival app stores.

In September 2023, the EU picked out 22 so-called "gatekeeper" services run by Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok-owner ByteDance, giving them six months to comply with the provisions of its Digital Markets Act (DMA), legislation meant to make it easier for European users to move between competing services.

Meta Platforms and ByteDance's TikTok both appealed against the "gatekeeper" status in November, with the latter losing a bid to suspend its designation in February.


Britain's media regulator last October asked the country's antitrust authority CMA to investigate Amazon and Microsoft's dominance of the UK cloud market, citing features that made it more difficult for businesses to switch or mix and match cloud providers. CMA will complete its investigation by April 2025.


France's competition watchdog on Mar. 20 said it fined Google 250 million euros for breaches linked to EU intellectual property rules in its relationship with media publishers.

The authority raided Nvidia's local offices last September, the Wall Street Journal reported. The watchdog had disclosed the raid but did not name the company beyond saying it was in the "graphics cards sector".

Nvidia declined to comment.

The antitrust authority in July 2023 said Apple may have violated regulations related to the utilisation of iPhone user data in advertising and could potentially misuse its dominant market position by imposing biased, unclear, and unfair conditions to handle user data.

The country's privacy watchdog said last July it was aware of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman's Worldcoin crypto project and that the legality of its biometric data collection "seems questionable as do the conditions for storing biometric data".


Google has agreed to change its user data practices to end a German antitrust investigation aimed at curbing its data-driven market power, the German cartel office said on Oct. 5. Google's commitments will give users more choice on how their data is used across the company's platforms, the regulator said.

A German data watchdog has been investigating Worldcoin since late 2022. Worldcoin, which launched in July 2023, requires users to give their iris scans in exchange for a digital ID and, in some countries, free cryptocurrency.


Italy's competition watchdog fined British American Tobacco (BAT) and Amazon in February a combined 7 million euros over misleading advertising for heated tobacco products.

Italy's antitrust agency said in May 2023 it had opened a probe into Apple for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the apps market.

Last April, the watchdog took measures against Meta over an alleged abuse of its position in the country, in a probe involving the rights to music posted on the group's platforms.

OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot was temporarily banned in Italy last March over concerns by the national data protection authority, but was made available to users again in April.


The Dutch competition regulator last October said it had rejected Apple's objections against fines of 50 million euros it had given the company over failure to comply with regulations aimed at limiting the dominant position of Apple's App Store. Apple will appeal the decision in Dutch courts. ($1 = 0.9224 euros)

(Compiled by Alessandro Parodi, Victor Goury-Laffont, Olivier Cherfan, Paolo Laudani and Enrico Sciacovelli in Gdansk; editing by Milla Nissi, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Bernadette Baum, Alexandra Hudson)