Google's not alone. Europe has been taking on tech companies for decades

Google fined $5B for antitrust breach in Europe
Google fined $5B for antitrust breach in Europe

Europe has a long history of putting Big Tech under a microscope.

The latest example came Wednesday, when the European Commission imposed a record €4.34 billion ($5 billion) fine on Google for abusing the dominant market position of its Android smartphone operating system.

The European Union has emerged as a tech battleground because it has developed and applied tough rules on data protection, hate speech, taxation and competition issues.

"When you are a dominant company in Europe, you are subjected to more scrutiny and responsibility," said Nicolas Petit, a professor at the University of Liege and visiting fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Here are some of the biggest flash points.

March, 2004 Microsoft (MSFT) is fined €497 million ($578 million) by the Commission for breaking antitrust laws by forcing its Windows Media Player on Windows users. The company is ordered to stop the practice.

July, 2006 Microsoft fined €280.5 million ($326 million) for not complying with the 2004 decision.

February, 2008 Microsoft fined a further €899 million ($1 billion) for not complying with the 2004 decision. The fine was later reduced to €860 million.

December, 2009 Microsoft is ordered by the Commission to allow Windows users and computer manufacturers to turn off Internet Explorer and use other browsers.

Related: Europe has fined Google $5 billion. But that won't hurt it

May, 2009 Intel (INTC) is fined €1.06 billion ($1.2 billion) for abusing its dominant position by paying computer makers to delay or even cancel releases of products that contain chips made by rival AMD.

December, 2012 The Commission fines Philips (PHG), LG Electronics, Panasonic (PCRFF) and other companies a total of €1.47 billion ($1.7 billion) for running two cartels.

March, 2013 Microsoft is fined €561 million ($653 million) for not complying with the 2009 Internet Explorer ruling.

May, 2014 — Europe's top court rules that people have the right to be forgotten and search engines like Google must remove certain unwanted links.

August, 2016 — The Commission orders Ireland to recover up to €13 billion ($14.6 billion) in unpaid taxes from Apple (AAPL).

May, 2017 — Facebook (FB) is fined €110 million ($122 million) for misleading European officials about its takeover of messaging service WhatsApp.

June, 2017 — Google (GOOGL) is fined a record €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) for using its search engine to steer internet users towards its own shopping platform.

Related: Will the US regulate Facebook? Europe is doing just that

October, 2017 — The Commission orders Amazon (AMZN) pay unpaid taxes of €250 million ($293 million) after finding that it benefited from an illegal arrangement with Luxembourg.

January, 2018 The Commission fines Qualcomm (QCOM) €997 million ($1.2 billion) for paying billions to Apple not to use chips made by competitors.

March, 2018 Europe tells tech companies including Google, Facebook and Twitter (TWTR) to take down terrorist content within an hour of it being flagged or face new legislation and fines.

April, 2018 — The Commission says its investigating Apple's acquisition of music recognition app Shazam.

May, 2018 — Europe's new data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation, comes into effect, setting up new strict rules for how companies handle personal data.

July, 2018 — Google is hit with a new record €4.34 billion ($5 billion) fine over Android.

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