The European Union fined Google a hefty sum in 2017 for allegedly violating antitrust rules, but the big tech company has engaged in a years-long appeals process. Now, that process is coming to a close, and might not end in Google’s favor. As first reported by Bloomberg, a top adviser to the EU’s highest court said that judges should uphold the fine. The adviser’s recommendation does not confirm that Google will have to pay the EU’s antitrust fine. However, in the majority of cases, judges will side with the recommendations of court advisers.
“Google … was leveraging its dominant position on the market for general search services to favor its own comparison shopping service by favoring the display of its results,” said Juliane Kokott, who is the advocate general of the Court of Justice in the European Union. Kokott said that judges should uphold the $2.7 billion fine for those reasons.
The original dispute hinged on whether Google used its search tool as an advantage in online shopping. The EU claimed that is price comparison tool for online shopping, built into Google Search, gave it an unfair advantage. Compared to smaller EU companies, Google’s dominant position in search would be tricky to overcome. As such, the EU fined Google €2.42 billion back in 2017. That equals $2.7 billion in U.S. dollars.
“Irrespective of the appeal, we continue to invest in our remedy, which has been working successfully for several years, and will continue to work constructively with the European Commission,” Google said in a statement. The company also said it would review the adviser’s opinion, and wait for the court’s official ruling.
Google has been a frequent target of the EU. The company is usually cited in inquiries about its digital ad practices or potential antitrust concerns. In total, Google has been fined over $10 billion by governments across the globe since 2017.
Will the EU keep giving out antitrust fines to Google?
Google is under more scrutiny from the European Union following the passing of the Digital Markets Act. Under this legislation, Google has been deemed a “gatekeeper” by the EU. This means that some of its services, named “core platform services” by the EU, must be available on multiple platforms. If Google does not meet these requirements, it could face more and greater fines.
However, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai met with the EU’s antitrust leader Margrethe Vestager on Thursday to talk about competition in big tech. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was also present, as well as other U.S. tech leaders. The hope is that tech companies and the EU can find some common ground and move forward in a way that balances innovation and competition.
The post EU adviser: Google should have to pay $2.7 billion antitrust fine appeared first on Android Headlines.