Economy

Google vs European Union: a decade-long saga goes to court

Google vs European Union: a decade-long saga goes to court”

Google (GOOGL.O) will on Wednesday seek to overturn the first of three hefty European Union antitrust fines at Europe's second-highest court in a landmark case that could determine how EU enforcers take on USA tech giants for abuse of market power, Reuters reported.

The fine imposed on Google, a unit of Alphabet, was the biggest for a single company in an European Union antitrust case.

However, the Commission's lawyer, Nicholas Khan, rejected the claims, saying that "Google's status as the colossus of the digital age" was unchallenged and "until recently unquestionable".

The EU has fined Google with a total of 8,250 million euros in three separate cases, including one related to the operating system of its Android smartphone.

The EU based its fine on part of Google's revenue from 2016, then increased the basic penalty by "the highest multiplier" possible for a monopoly-type case and then increased that figure again, Google says in documents at the bloc's General Court, where it's slugging it out with the regulator over the 2017 levy.

The EU commission will give testimony alongside complainants who accuse Google of having smothered their business. "No company should be able to abuse that position to promote their own services to the detriment of competitors and consumers alike", said lawyer Thomas Hoppner, who advises critical clients with Google.

"Shopping ads have always helped people find the products they are looking for quickly and easily, and they have helped merchants reach potential customers", Google said. a statement.

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Vestager, a former Danish finance minister, quickly became known for her relentless pursuit of United States tech giants that drew attention worldwide.

The EU's case mirrors similar litigation against Microsoft, a legal labyrinth that ran throughout most of the 1990s and early 2000s and saw the Windows-maker fined about 1.4 billion euros.

The key issue is whether self preferencing is anti-competitive and whether Amazon (AMZN.O) and eBay (EBAY.O) should be counted as Google's rivals.

He said Google "left only a few crumbs" to its rivals.

EU regulators said this sanction was due to Google favoring its own price comparison service to the detriment of smaller European rivals.

More than 30 travel firms - including TripAdvisor and Expedia - wrote to Vestager on Monday complaining that Google was unfairly trying to enter the vacation rental ad business.



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