In 2009, Google broke the antitrust law by using its search engine to promote its shopping comparison service and demote its competitors. So, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined a $2.8 billion antitrust fine to Google to use unfair means over smaller European competitors. At that time, the fine amount was the largest that the EU had ever imposed on any company for broking antitrust law which seems a threat for tech companies from European regulators. So, Alphabet company Google appeals to a higher court for a billion-dollar fine from the European Commission.
Now, after almost four years, the EU’s court sustained the 2017 ruling by the European Commission which found the Google has broken the antitrust law. Google does have a chance to appeal the decision to the EU’s higher court, ie, the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Google not only faces a shopping comparison antitrust case but there are other two cases which are involving Android and AdSense in 2018 and 2019. This Google appeal which they have lost would going to have an impact on the other two cases and will tighten the screw of Google in other areas also.
The EU General Court sustained the 2017 ruling as they have seen any evidence that proves Google has been involved in ‘self-preferencing’ (means a company using its dominant position in one market to help it succeed in another, in this case, Google using its search capabilities to succeed its shopping capabilities). Although self-preferencing is not breaching of EU’s antitrust law it has harmful effects (like preventing better products which are made by competitors).
Based on this, the EU court sustained the previous court’s judgments. And, as self-preferencing is commonly used in the tech world, so this judgment would help strengthen other antitrust cases.
The EU court has passed the judgment to the case which was first filed in 2009 and according to which judgment has passed. And from that point, Google had changed its business techniques which are allowing competitors to bid to appear in search results. So, the decision of the court is worth it now or not because of its slow-decision making process.
EU court not only fined $2.8 billion to Google but over the past few years, they have faced multiple antitrust fines which sum up to $10 billion.
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