Google’s Final Stand Against $2.6 Billion EU Antitrust Fine Heads to Top European Court
Google is making a final attempt to overturn a massive $2.6 billion EU antitrust fine related to its shopping service.
The company argues that regulators failed to prove its practices were anti-competitive.
This legal battle, which began in 2017, has already cost Google a total of 8.25 billion euros in penalties over the past decade.
Google has made a final attempt to reverse a 2.42 billion euro ($2.6 billion) EU antitrust fine imposed on it for alleged market abuse related to its shopping service. According to Reuters, the tech giant argues that regulators failed to demonstrate that its practices were anti-competitive.
The legal battle, which began in 2017, has cost Google 8.25 billion euros in penalties over the last decade, with this being the first of three such fines.
Google’s defense maintains that treating competitors differently is a natural part of competition, while EU authorities claim that Google unfairly favored its own services through algorithmic manipulation.
The company has turned to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after its initial challenge to the fine was dismissed by the General Court in 2021. The Alphabet’s subsidiary argues that EU regulators failed to establish the anti-competitive nature of its practices.
Google lawyer Thomas Graf contends that competition inherently involves treating competitors differently, emphasizing the need for companies to differentiate themselves from rivals.
“Companies do not compete by treating competitors equally with themselves. They compete by treating them differently. The whole point of competition is for a company to differentiate itself from rivals. Not to align with rivals so that all are the same,” Graf stated to the panel. “Qualifying every different treatment, and in particular different treatment of first party and third party businesses, as abusive would undermine competition. It would impair the ability and incentives of companies to compete and innovate.”
On the opposing side, the European Commission maintains that Google used its algorithms to unduly favor its own price comparison shopping service, violating EU antitrust laws.
“Google was entitled to apply algorithms that lower the visibility of certain results which were less relevant for a user query. What Google was not entitled to do was to use its dominance in general search in order to extend its position over comparison shopping by promoting results of its own services, and embellishing them with attractive features and apply algorithms that are prone to pushing down the results of rivals and showing those results without attractive features,”Commission lawyer Fernando Castillo de la Torre said.
The CJEU is expected to make a ruling in the coming months. A bigger EU probe into Google’s digital ads could lead to the company splitting up, as regulators want to tackle its strong market position.
- EU Antitrust Chief Vestager Warns of Regulatory Scrutiny on Metaverse and AI
- Google Upgrades AI Chatbot Bard with Content Collaboration Feature, Expands Language Support
- China vs EU: Which is Leading the Way in Strict AI Regulation?
Any data, text, or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.
The Trust Project is a worldwide group of news organizations working to establish transparency standards.