The internet giant Google has lost its appeal against a $2.8 billion antitrust fine issued by the EU’s competition regulator. The fine was issued against Google for favouring its own price-comparison shopping service in its search results over its competitors.
The decision by the Luxembourg-based General Court fined the world’s most popular internet search engine in 2017 over the use of its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European rivals. The Court said the Commission correctly found that Google’s practices swatted away its argument that presence of merchant platforms showed there was strong competition.
The shopping case was the first of three decisions that saw Google rack up 8.25 billion euros in EU antitrust fines in the last decade.
Google said it would review the judgment and that it has already complied with the Commission’s order to ensure a level playing field for rivals. It did not say if it would appeal to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), Europe’s top court.
The court said the Commission correctly found Google’s practices harmed competition and dismissed the company’s argument that the presence of merchant platforms showed there was strong competition. It backed the Commission’s fine, citing the serious nature of the infringement and that “the conduct in question was adopted intentionally, not negligently”.
“The General Court largely dismisses Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favouring its own comparison-shopping service over competing comparison-shopping services,” the Court said.