Nov 10, 2021 - Technology

Google loses appeal to EU antitrust ruling

Illustration of the Google logo with scales of justice as the double o's.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google lost an appeal to an antitrust decision in Europe on Wednesday, Reuters reports, a victory for EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and a blow to the company as it fights antitrust suits at home and abroad.

What's happening: Today's ruling from the General Court is the latest in regulatory action between the EU and Google. Vestager fined the search giant $2.8 billion (€2.4 billion) in 2017 after finding it disadvantaged its European competition in the shopping comparison space.

The big picture: The ruling is a boost for Vestager, who also has ongoing cases against other U.S. tech giants Amazon, Apple and Facebook. Vestager's approach to tech competition has influenced her counterparts in the U.S., who have opened their own cases into the biggest tech firms.

  • Europe has been very aggressive in trying to reel in tech giants, with a number of cases and large fines over the past 10 years (including two other antitrust penalties against Google), in addition to brewing legislation that would vastly change how U.S. tech companies operate in Europe.

What they're saying: "The General Court largely dismisses 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 Court said, according to Reuters.

  • "This judgement relates to a very specific set of facts and while we will review it closely, we made changes back in 2017 to comply with the European Commission's decision," said Google spokesman José Castañeda. "Our approach has worked successfully for more than three years, generating billions of clicks for more than 700 comparison shopping services."

What's next: Google can appeal the decision to the European Court of Justice, but has not said if it will do so.

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