Google Loses EU Antitrust Appeal

Posted on November 10, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google with 8 Comments

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.

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Google Loses EU Antitrust Appeal”

  1. wright_is

    Making changes after the fact doesn't exempt you from punishment for your actions at or before the time of the accusation... :-S

  2. Bart

    If anything, court cases like these will hopefully be an example to other big tech.

  3. proftheory

    Lesson learned:

    In the EU everyone gets a gold star for showing up.

    When you are the preferred option you have to pretend you aren't.

    • gedisoft

      You don't have to pretend you aren't the prefered only aren't allowed to push everyone out of the way so you are the only option.

    • wright_is

      More like you walk into the Google Supermarket and there are row upon row of Google Cola and at the very back of the store, in a dark corner, there is a bottle of Pepsi and a bottle of Coca Cola...

      Or to quote Douglas Adams:

      “But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”

      “Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.”

      “But the plans were on display …”

      “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

      “That’s the display department.”

      “With a flashlight.”

      “Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”

      “So had the stairs.”

      “But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

      “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

  4. traffmagic

    By these kind of court results competitors only benefit a little bit not much.