In another legal blow to the online giant, the EU General Court ruled against Google’s appeal of a 2017 antitrust verdict related to shopping services this morning.
“The General Court finds that, by favoring its own comparison-shopping service on its general results pages through more favorable display and positioning, while relegating the results from competing comparison services in those pages by means of ranking algorithms, Google departed from competition on the merits,” the EU General Court noted of its ruling. “The General Court concludes its analysis by finding that the amount of the pecuniary penalty imposed on Google must be confirmed.”
In other words, Google is also liable for the $2.8 billion fine it was assessed in 2017.
This case, of course, is just one of three antitrust cases that the European Commission (EC) brought against Google in recent years, the other two regard Android and advertising. This is the least problematic of those cases for Google, but it’s a bad precedent for the firm in that it shows the EU’s willingness to come down hard on America’s dominant Big Tech companies. (The EU has similar antitrust cases against Amazon, Apple, and Facebook in various stages.)
“Today’s judgment delivers the clear message that Google’s conduct was unlawful, and it provides the necessary legal clarity for the market,” an EC statement notes of the ruling. “The Commission will continue to use all tools at its disposal to address the role of big digital platforms on which businesses and users depend to, respectively, access end-users and access digital services.”
Google has one more step it can take to fight this charge: it can appeal the decision to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court. It hasn’t indicated whether it will do so yet, but I would imagine it will. For now, it simply says that it already made behavioral changes in 2017 that address the charges and it will “review” the ruling.
Tagged with Antitrust