The €2.42 billion fine imposed on Google has been upheld by the General Court.
What you need to know
- Europe’s second-highest court has dismissed Google’s challenge against a 2017 ruling by the European Commission.
- The European Commission had imposed a €2.4 billion (about $2.8 billion) fine on Google for abusing its dominant position to favor its own comparison shopping service.
- Google can now choose to appeal against the ruling with the EU Court of Justice (CJEU).
In what comes as a huge setback for Google, Europe’s second-highest court on November 10 dismissed the search giant’s appeal against a 2017 ruling by the European Commission.
The European Commission had found that Google had abused its search dominance to promote its own comparison shopping service over those of its rivals. In respect of the infringement, the Commission imposed a hefty €2.4 billion (about $2.8 billion) fine on Google and its parent company Alphabet.
The court found that Google had indeed violated antitrust laws “by favouring its own comparison shopping service on its general results pages through more favourable display and positioning, while relegating the results from competing comparison services in those pages by means of ranking algorithms.”
Following a fresh assessment of the infringement, the court has also “confirmed the amount of the penalty and rejected Google’s arguments that no penalty should have been imposed on it.” The 2017 ruling was the first of three major cases against Google by EU antitrust authorities.
The European Commission has fined Google a total of €8.25 billion in the past decade. The agency is currently also investigating other U.S. tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Facebook over possible antitrust violations.
In June this year, the Commission opened a fresh investigation into Google’s adtech business to determine whether it has been violating EU competition rules by favoring its own digital advertising services.
Additionally, the probe is assessing whether Google is restricting competition in the digital advertising market by restricting third-party access to user data for advertising. Google is also under renewed EU antitrust investigation over forcing Android OEMs to use Google Assistant as the default voice assistant on their best phones.
The only option left with Google is now to appeal against the decision with the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), which is Europe’s highest court.