Google loses appeal against $2.8 billion EU antitrust ruling

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The court’s support for the Commission in its latest ruling could also strengthen Competition Commissioner Vestager’s hand in her investigations into Amazon, Apple and Facebook

Alphabet unit Google lost an appeal against a 2.42 billion euro ($2.8 billion) antitrust decision on Wednesday, a major win for Europe’s Competition Commissioner in the first of three court rulings central to the European Union’s (EU) push to regulate big tech.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined the world’s most popular internet search engine in 2017 over the use of its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals.

The shopping case was the first of three decisions that saw Google rack up 8.25 billion euros in EU antitrust fines in the last decade.

The company could face defeats in appeals against the other two rulings involving its Android mobile operating system and AdSense advertising service, where the EU has stronger arguments, antitrust specialists say.

The court’s support for the Commission in its latest ruling could also strengthen Vestager’s hand in her investigations into Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

The General Court largely dismisses Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favouring its own comparison shopping service over competing comparison shopping services, the Court said.

The court said the Commission correctly found Google’s practices harmed competition and dismissed the company’s argument that the presence of merchant platforms showed there was strong competition.

It backed the Commission’s fine, citing the serious nature of the infringement and that the conduct in question was adopted intentionally, not negligently.

Google said it would review the judgment and that it has already complied with the Commission’s order to ensure a level playing field for rivals. It did not say if it would appeal to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), Europe’s top court.

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Source: scommerce.com

Google loses appeal against $2.8 billion EU antitrust ruling