European court upholds the fine of €2.42 billion imposed on Google

Google Shopping India

Back in 2017, the European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion (approx $2.7 billion USD) for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google abused dominance as search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service.

When a user enters a query into the Google, results from Google’s comparison shopping service are displayed at or near the top of the search results. Google included a number of criteria in their ranking algorithms so that rival comparison shopping services are demoted in the search rankings.

Google appealed against EC’s ruling before the General Court of the European Union. Today, the General Court largely dismissed Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favoring its own
comparison shopping service over competing comparison shopping services. The General Court also confirmed the amount of
the penalty.

First of all, the General Court considers that an undertaking’s dominant position alone, even one on the scale of Google’s, is not a ground of criticism of the undertaking concerned, even if it is planning to expand into a neighbouring market. However, the General Court finds that, 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, Google departed from competition on the merits. On account of three specific circumstances, namely (i) the importance of the traffic generated by Google’s general search engine for comparison shopping services; (ii) the behaviour of users, who typically concentrate on the first few results; and (iii) the large proportion of ‘diverted’ traffic in the traffic of comparison shopping services and the fact that it cannot be effectively
replaced, the practice at issue was liable to lead to a weakening of competition on the market.

Source: EU

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