Google’s Ongoing EU Antitrust Battle Google’s Ongoing EU Antitrust Battle

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An adviser to the EU top court has proposed upholding Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) unit Google’s €2.42B EU antitrust fine.

Adviser Sides with Upholding €2.42B EU Antitrust Fine

Advocate General Juliane Kokott recommended that the Court of Justice of the European Union, or CJEU, confirm the fine imposed on Google for favoring its own comparison shopping service. This recommendation revives the long-standing antitrust battle between Google and the EU.

CJEU consists of two courts — the Court of Justice and the General Court.

In its decision of June 27, 2017, the European Commission, or EC, found that Google had given preference to the results of its comparison shopping service over those of rivals on its general search results page.

The Commission concluded that Google had abused its dominant position in the markets for online general searches and specialized product searches, leading to the imposition of a hefty fine of €2.42B. Alphabet, as Google’s sole shareholder, is jointly and severally liable for approximately €523.51M, as per a press release by the CJEU on Thursday.

Setting Aside Google’s Appeal

Google had previously challenged the EC’s decision before the General Court of the European Union. In November 2021, the General Court dismissed the action and upheld the fine.

The General Court annulled the decision in part, stating that it did not find proven anticompetitive effects, even potential effects, on the market for general search services due to Google’s conduct. Google then lodged an appeal with the Court of Justice, seeking the annulment of the decision.

However, Advocate General Kokott has recommended that the Court of Justice dismiss the appeal and uphold the imposed fine, signaling a potential setback for the tech giant.

Outcome and Future Proceedings

CJEU clarified that the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding and the Court of Justice will deliberate further on the case. A final judgment will be delivered at a later date.

This ongoing legal saga casts a shadow on Google’s operations in Europe and may have far-reaching implications for its future business practices in the region.

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