A court adviser has recommended that Google's $2.7 billion EU antitrust fine should be upheld.

NEWS

Gilard Cob

1/1/20241 min read

white concrete building during daytime
white concrete building during daytime

On January 11th, in Brussels, an event took place. An adviser to Europe's top court has recommended upholding the 2.42-billion-euro ($2.7 billion) EU antitrust fine against Google's unit, Alphabet (GOOGL.O). This could potentially be a setback for the world's most popular internet search engine.

In 2017, the European Commission imposed a fine on the company for utilizing its own price comparison shopping service to gain an unfair advantage over smaller European competitors.

In the past decade, Google faced a series of three EU decisions, with the shopping case being the first, which led to the company being fined a total of 8.25 billion euros.

According to Juliane Kokott, the Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), judges should affirm the fine.

"According to the Commission and the General Court, Google was using its dominant position in the general search services market to give preferential treatment to its own comparison shopping service by prioritizing the display of its results," she stated.

Judges typically adhere to the majority of these non-binding recommendations and are expected to make rulings in the upcoming months. In 2021, a lower tribunal ruled in favor of the EU competition enforcer.

Google stated that it would carefully consider the opinion and await the court's decision.

"Regardless of the appeal, we remain committed to investing in our solution, which has proven to be successful over the past few years. We will also maintain a constructive partnership with the European Commission," stated a spokesperson.

Later on Thursday, Margrethe Vestager, the EU antitrust chief, is set to meet with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and other leaders from Big Tech companies in the United States. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss competition and digital issues.

Google has also contested the other two rulings concerning its Android mobile operating system and AdSense advertising service.

The case in question is C-48/22 P Google and Alphabet v Commission, which revolves around the issue of Google Shopping.

1 US dollar is equivalent to 0.9115 euros.